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Does teaching physical therapists to deliver a biopsychosocial treatment program result in better patient outcomes?: A randomized controlled trial
Örebro Universitet, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3532-7938
Örebro Universitet, Sweden.
Norwegian Knowledge Center for the Health Services, Oslo, Norway..ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5064-8820
Örebro Universitet, Sweden.
2011 (English)In: Physical Therapy, ISSN 0031-9023, E-ISSN 1538-6724, Vol. 91, no 5, 804-819 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background. Psychosocial prognostic factors are important in the development of chronic pain, but treatment providers often lack knowledge and skills to assess and address these risk factors. Objective. The aim of this study was to examine the effects on outcomes (pain and disability) in patients of a course about psychosocial prognostic factors for physical therapists. Design. This study was a randomized, controlled trial. Setting. The setting was primary care practice. Participants. Forty-two primary care physical therapists attended an 8-day university course (over 8 weeks) aimed at identifying and addressing psychosocial risk factors. Intervention. The physical therapists were randomly assigned to either the course or a waiting list. They treated consecutive patients with acute and subacute musculoskeletal pain both before and after the course. Measurements. We measured physical therapists' attitudes and beliefs about psychosocial factors, knowledge, and skills before and after the course. We measured patients' pain, disability, catastrophizing, and mood at the start of treatment and at a 6-month follow-up. Methods. The physical therapists were randomly assigned to either the course or a waiting list. They treated consecutive patients with acute and subacute musculoskeletal pain both before and after the course. Results. Pain and disability outcomes in all patients of physical therapists who had participated in the course or in patients at risk of developing long-term disability who had higher levels of catastrophizing or depression were not significantly different from those outcomes in patients of physical therapists who had not participated in the course. Pain and disability outcomes in patients with a low risk of developing long-term disability-and pain outcomes in patients with a high risk of developing long-term disability-were not dependent upon whether the attitudes and beliefs of their physical therapists changed during the course. However, disability outcomes in patients with a high risk of developing long-term disability may have been influenced by whether the attitudes and beliefs of their physical therapists changed. Limitations. A limitation of this study was that actual practice behavior was not measured. Conclusions. An 8-day university course for physical therapists did not improve outcomes in a group of patients as a whole or in patients with a risk of developing long-term disability. However, patients who had a risk of developing long-term disability and had higher levels of catastrophizing or depression may have shown greater reductions in disability if the attitudes and beliefs of their physical therapists changed during the course.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 91, no 5, 804-819 p.
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences Physiotherapy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-13914DOI: 10.2522/Ptj.20100079ISI: 000289961000020Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-79960955694OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-13914DiVA: diva2:471788
Available from: 2012-01-03 Created: 2012-01-03 Last updated: 2015-05-26Bibliographically approved

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