Study aim: This research aims to explore patient satisfaction with ED physiotherapy within the Australian context by providing a qualitative perspective with in-depth exploration of the factors underlying patients' satisfaction. The physiotherapist was part of the Emergency Department Allied Health Team of social worker and occupational therapist.
Methods: A qualitative, interpretive, field-based study using face-to-face interviews were carried out post-physiotherapy treatment within the emergency department, followed-up 2-3 weeks later with telephone interviews.
Results: Twenty two participants took part in the face-to-face interviews and 15 in the follow-up interviews. Of the 22 participants who took part in the initial interviews 19 were over 65 years of age, with a mean age of 78 years. Within the category 'Physiotherapy in the emergency department' the themes were; expectations, bedside manner, physiotherapy management (i.e. assessment, advice, hands-on, exercise, follow-up/referral) and satisfaction. The physiotherapist at the Australian emergency department appeared to make an impact on patients' experiences in the emergency department through his thorough subjective assessment of the patients' home environment, coping skills and social supports, his assessment of functional mobility, his provision of exercises, advice and hands-on treatment, as well as his involvement in organising follow-up or referral to other services. The physiotherapist's bedside manner shaped patients' perceptions throughout their assessment and treatment, reassuring and comforting patients within the emergency environment.
Conclusion: Participants were satisfied with the experience of attending the physiotherapist in the emergency department and commented the blend of skills of the physiotherapists enhanced the service provision and self reported patient outcomes.
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