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Phys Ther. 2016 Oct;96(10):1588-1596. Epub 2016 Apr 14.

Physical Therapists' Role in Health Promotion as Perceived by the Patient: Descriptive Survey.

Author information

1
B. Black, PT, DSc, Physical Therapy Program, Oakland University, Human Health Building, Room 3170, Rochester, MI 48309 (USA). bblack@oakland.edu.
2
M.S. Ingman, PT, DSc, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, St. Catherine University, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
3
J. Janes, PT, DPT, Department of Rehabilitation, Beaumont Health System, Troy, Michigan.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The importance of health professionals discussing health behaviors with patients is emphasized in Healthy People 2020, the national health objectives established by the US Department of Health and Human Services. Many physical therapists do not routinely discuss health behaviors with their patients. One reason may be uncertainty about how these discussions might be perceived by patients.

OBJECTIVE:

The primary purpose of this study was to determine patients' opinions regarding physical therapists discussing the topics of physical activity, smoking, fruit and vegetable consumption, and maintaining a healthy weight during clinical visits. A secondary purpose was to determine whether patients believe that physical therapists should be role models for these behaviors.

DESIGN:

This was a descriptive cross-sectional survey.

METHODS:

Patients were surveyed at 8 outpatient clinics in Michigan and Minnesota. A written questionnaire collected information about the participants' health behaviors, their opinions about physical therapists discussing their health behaviors during clinical visits, and their opinions about physical therapists role-modeling healthy behaviors.

RESULTS:

The survey response rate was 45.6%. A total of 230 patients participated. Most participants agreed that physical therapists should speak to them about physical activity (91.3%), maintaining a healthy weight (73%), and abstaining from smoking (51.3%). Fewer participants agreed that physical therapists should advise them about fruit and vegetable consumption (32.1%). The majority of participants agreed that physical therapists should be role models for engaging in regular physical activity (83.4%), maintaining a healthy weight (71.7%), and abstaining from smoking (63.9%).

LIMITATIONS:

Limitations of this study include the potential for response bias and limited generalizability.

CONCLUSIONS:

Most participants believed it is appropriate for physical therapists to speak with them about and be role models for the behaviors of physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, and abstaining from smoking. Physical therapists have the opportunity to support the goals of Healthy People 2020 by discussing health behaviors with their patients.

PMID:
27081205
DOI:
10.2522/ptj.20140383
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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