Involving family members in physiotherapy for older people transitioning from hospital to the community: a qualitative analysis Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • To generate an understanding of the opinions of key people associated with a program for older people transitioning from hospital back to the community and explore their thoughts around training family members to help provide physiotherapy.A qualitative study using focus groups and semi-structured interviews was conducted. Participants included patients admitted to a transitional care program, their family members, physiotherapists working in transitional care and members of a consumer group from the health service where the transitional care program was based. Data were transcribed verbatim and a thematic analysis was conducted.Four patients, four family members, four consumer group members and eight physiotherapists participated in this study. Three themes emerged: family members providing physiotherapy may improve outcomes for patients; training family members to provide physiotherapy should include key elements and be individualised; and involving family members in physiotherapy may impact positively and negatively on people and relationships.Older people transitioning from hospital to the community are at risk of functional decline and may receive very little physiotherapy. Training family members to assist with physiotherapy was perceived as a way to improve patient outcomes and relationships between patients and their family, although there were concerns raised about caregiver stress. Evaluation of the feasibility and effectiveness of this approach is warranted.Older people transitioning from hospital to the community are at risk of functional decline and often receive very little physiotherapy. Training family members to assist with simple physiotherapy programs may increase the amount of physiotherapy patients transitioning from hospital to the community can receive and improve functional outcomes for patients. Stakeholders perceive that individualising a program to patient and family member needs is important. Involving family members in physiotherapy may not increase caregiver stress and may improve relationship dynamics between patients and family members.

publication date

  • 2015