“People suffer and we see this”: a qualitative study of the forms of patient psychological distress encountered by physiotherapists

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Abstract

Background: Psychological distress is a common response to many conditions physiotherapists treat. It is also common for a person’s experience of distress to be associated with multiple stressors. Objective: This qualitative study explored physiotherapists’ perceptions of the types of patient psychological distress they encountered in their clinical practice. Methods: A qualitative research approach was adopted. Twenty-three physiotherapists were recruited through purposive maximum variation sampling. To participate, physiotherapists had to self-report having encountered at least one patient they perceived to be experiencing psychological distress in the last 12 months. Data analysis was completed using Iterative Thematic Inquiry. Conclusion: The results of this study highlight that patient psychological distress presents in a variety of forms and appears to be multifaceted and multifactorial in nature. As patients’ experiences of psychological distress are relevant to physiotherapy practice, mental health capabilities need to be embedded within physiotherapy training.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalPhysiotherapy Theory and Practice
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 03 Nov 2022

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