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Physiotherapists views on patient handling, work-related musculoskeletal disorders and the potential role of targeted exercise in preparing for occupational demands.

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Project Description

During their career, almost 70% of UK physiotherapists experience muscle, joint or bone pain that they believe is caused by their work; these are known as work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WRMSDs). In 2019/2020 WRMSDs cost the NHS approximately £400 million due to 8.9 million workdays being lost through staff absence. Daily work activities that involve moving and handling patients have been linked with the development of WRMSDs. Physiotherapists are at risk due to the type of handling they do during patient treatment sessions.

Current interventions to reduce WRMSDs, such as manual handling training and providing mechanical lifting aids to move patients, are not significantly reducing rates of WRMSDs. Evidence from nursing and other (non-healthcare) manual professions suggests that a tailored approach involving exercise targeted at job-specific activities may reduce WRMSDs in physiotherapists. However, developing and implementing any intervention into practice would be more successful if the individuals that stand to benefit are involved throughout the process.

This study aims to explore the views of physiotherapists surrounding WRMSDs, moving and handling of patients and the role of targeted exercise in reducing WRMSD prevalence. A series of interviews and focus groups will be held with NHS physiotherapists in Grampian and across the UK. The results will inform future work aimed at developing a comprehensive intervention to reduce WRMSDs in physiotherapists.

Status Project Live
Funder(s) NHS Grampian Endowment Fund
Value £15,451.00
Project Dates Apr 1, 2023 - Nov 30, 2024

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