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Physiother Can. 2018;70(2):188-195. doi: 10.3138/ptc.2016-107.pc.

Integrating Physiotherapists into Primary Health Care Organizations: The Physiotherapists' Perspective.

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Department of Physical Therapy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto.
Practice and Policy.
Practice and Member Services, Ontario Physiotherapy Association, Toronto.


in English, French

Purpose: This study's purpose was to gain insight into physiotherapists' perspectives on the perceived barriers and facilitators of integrating physiotherapists into primary health care (PHC) teams. Method: A qualitative descriptive approach consisting of semi-structured face-to-face or telephone interviews was used. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim, and checked by the interviewers to ensure trustworthiness. Data were analyzed using Braun and Clarke's six steps to thematic analysis. Results: Eight participants were interviewed, representing physiotherapists from diverse demographics and geographical regions in Ontario. Common themes discussed were the orientation process, their experiences of integrating the physiotherapist's role into the organization, programme development compared with one-to-one care, the characteristics of the physiotherapist and the interdisciplinary team, and the resources available in the organization. Our key findings of influential factors for integration were (1) the diversity and novelty of new physiotherapists' role, (2) team members' understanding of the physiotherapists' role, and (3) physiotherapists' actions and values regarding PHC. Conclusions: The integration process is affected by factors ranging from individual to system levels. The integration of physiotherapists into PHC would be enhanced by a greater understanding of the role of physiotherapy in PHC by physiotherapists, other health care professionals, and system planners.


interdisciplinary health team; physical therapy; primary health care

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