The physical therapy consultation: A qualitative study of the experience of parents of infants with cystic fibrosis in Australia

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Abstract

Background
Physiotherapy is an essential component in the management of cystic fibrosis (CF).

Objective
To explore how parents of infants with CF experience physiotherapy clinic consultations.

Methods
A qualitative study, informed by hermeneutic phenomenology, utilizing in-depth semi-structured interviews and daily diaries was conducted with 13 parents of infants (aged 0–2 yrs.) receiving physiotherapy care for CF in Australia.

Results
Three themes arose from the text. The first was that parents’ physiotherapy clinic experience is influenced by the manner in which health professionals communicate to parents about physiotherapy in CF, as well as their own prior experience and knowledge. Secondly, parents receive conflicting messages from the physiotherapy consultation, but perceive the key message to be to prioritize adherence to physiotherapy. The final theme was that parents’ expectations of the physiotherapy interaction were often not met, in particular a lack of practical physiotherapy education and training was reported.

Conclusion
Parents of infants with CF seek an optimistic, practical and hands on approach during physiotherapy consultations. Exploring options for providing physiotherapy input outside of traditional clinic environments may help accommodate individual needs. Investigation into the manner in which physiotherapy education is communicated to parents is warranted in light of the influence on parents’ expectations of physiotherapy
Original languageEnglish
Article numberDOI: 10.1080/09593985.2021.2023932
JournalPhysiotherapy Theory and Practice: an international journal of physical therapy
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jan 2022

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