Patients' perspectives of patient-centredness as important in musculoskeletal physiotherapy interactions: a qualitative study

Physiotherapy. 2011 Jun;97(2):154-62. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2010 Oct 22.


Objective: To determine patients' perspectives of components of patient-centred physiotherapy and its essential elements.

Design: Qualitative study using semi-structured interviews to explore patients' judgements of patient-centred physiotherapy. Grounded theory was used to determine common themes among the interviews and develop theory iteratively from the data.

Setting: Musculoskeletal outpatient physiotherapy at a provincial city hospital.

Participants: Eight individuals who had recently received physiotherapy.

Results: Five categories of characteristics relating to patient-centred physiotherapy were generated from the data: the ability to communicate; confidence; knowledge and professionalism; an understanding of people and an ability to relate; and transparency of progress and outcome. These categories did not tend to occur in isolation, but formed a composite picture of patient-centred physiotherapy from the patient's perspective.

Conclusions and practice implications: This research elucidates and reinforces the importance of patient-centredness in physiotherapy, and suggests that patients may be the best judges of the affective, non-technical aspects of a given healthcare episode.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude
  • Communication
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / psychology*
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / rehabilitation*
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Patient-Centered Care*
  • Physical Therapy Modalities / psychology*
  • Qualitative Research