A mixed methods exploration of physiotherapist’s approaches to analgesic use among patients with hip osteoarthritis
Holden, Melanie Ann
Quicke, Jonathan George
Mallen, Christian David
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Holden, M. A., Whittle, R., Waterfield, J., Chesterton, L., Cottrell, E., Quicke, J. G. & Mallen, C. D. (2019) A mixed methods exploration of physiotherapist’s approaches to analgesic use among patients with hip osteoarthritis. Physiotherapy, 105(3), pp. 328-337.
Objective To explore how physiotherapists currently address analgesic use among patients with hip osteoarthritis, and their beliefs about the acceptability of prescribing for these patients.Methods A cross-sectional questionnaire was mailed to 3126 UK-based physiotherapists. Approaches to analgesic use among patients with hip osteoarthritis were explored using a case vignette. Semi-structured telephone interviews were undertaken with 21 questionnaire responders and analysed thematically.Setting UK.Participants Physiotherapists who had treated a patient with hip osteoarthritis in the previous 6 months.Results Questionnaire response: 53% (n = 1646). One thousand one hundred forty eight physiotherapists reported treating a patient with hip osteoarthritis in the last 6 months (applicable responses), of whom nine (1%) were non-medical prescribers. Nearly all physiotherapists (98%) reported that they would address analgesic use for the patient with hip osteoarthritis, most commonly by signposting them to their GP (83%). Fifty six percent would discuss optimal use of current medication, and 33%, would discuss use of over-the-counter medications. Interviews revealed that variations in physiotherapists’ approaches to analgesic use were influenced by personal confidence, patient safety concerns, and their perceived professional remit. Whilst many recognised the benefits of analgesia prescribing for both patients and GP workload, additional responsibility for patient safety was a perceived barrier.Conclusions How physiotherapists currently address analgesic use with patients with hip osteoarthritis is variable. Although the potential benefits of independent prescribing were recognised, not all physiotherapist want the additional responsibility. Further guidance supporting optimisation of analgesic use among patients with hip OA may help better align care with best practice guidelines and reduce GP referrals.