A Model to Integrate Health Promotion and Wellness in Physical Therapist Practice: Development and Validation

Phys Ther. 2017 Dec 1;97(12):1169-1181. doi: 10.1093/ptj/pzx090.


Background: Globally, physical therapy professional organizations have called for physical therapists to perform lifestyle behavior management during customary care, or health-focused care, due to increasing morbidity and mortality related to noncommunicable diseases. Given the potential for health-focused care to improve health outcomes, physical therapists should integrate health promotion into their daily clinical practice. A clinical model that illustrates necessary steps to deliver health-focused care would be helpful to educate present and future physical therapists.

Objective: The purpose of the study was to develop and validate the Health-Focused Physical Therapy Model (HFPTM) for physical inactivity and smoking.

Methods: The authors used a mixed method approach. The preliminary model was informed by previous research and the investigators' shared experience in health promotion and physical therapy. An interdisciplinary group of health professionals provided input into the preliminary model by way of a World Café format. Eight physical therapists with health promotion and education expertise then engaged in a Delphi process to establish content validity.

Results: World Café participants indicated that: (1) physical therapists are well positioned to engage in health promotion and wellness, and (2) the model facilitates interdisciplinary collaboration and consultation. Delphi process participants reached majority consensus in 1 round. The average model content validity index (CVI) was .915 for physical inactivity and .899 for smoking. Agreement concerning the model schematic was 88% for either behavior. Investigators made few editorial changes after the Delphi process.

Limitations: Limitations of this study include using only 2 unhealthy lifestyle behaviors for testing, and performing the testing in a nonclinical setting.

Conclusions: An interdisciplinary group of health professionals believes that physical therapists should practice health-focused care and that the HFPTM is a valid model. This model could help physical therapist educators when educating physical therapist students and clinicians to practice health-focused care.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Protocols
  • Exercise
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Promotion*
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Smoking