A qualitative case study exploring the role of occupational health physiotherapy from the perspectives of different stakeholders

Chetty, Laran (2018) A qualitative case study exploring the role of occupational health physiotherapy from the perspectives of different stakeholders. DProf thesis, Middlesex University.

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Abstract

Introduction: Over the past decade, the role of occupational health physiotherapy has gained recognition as a profession that can be embedded within occupational health departments. In response, the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Occupational Health and Ergonomics developed an Occupational Health Framework for Physiotherapists based on the expert opinions of physiotherapists. There is also a dearth of literature relating to the role of occupational health physiotherapy and no research exploring this role from the perspectives of stakeholders outside the physiotherapy profession. This gap in the evidence base has led to the overall aim of the current project, which was to explore the role of occupational health physiotherapy from the perspectives of different relevant stakeholders.

Methodology: A qualitative, interpretative, case study methodology was used to explore the role of occupational health physiotherapy from the perspectives of different stakeholders. Three different stakeholder groups, namely occupational health clinicians, workforce managers and clients, were selected across two cases (NHS hospitals). The two cases were strategically chosen to allow for a dual exploration of the role of occupational health physiotherapy both in a tangible sense, where occupational health physiotherapy was already embedded in an occupational health department, and in a hypothetical sense by exploring its potential role. Data were collected through 28 semi-structured interviews and were analysed using the framework analysis technique.

Findings: Stakeholders across both NHS hospitals were supportive of the role of occupational health physiotherapists as integral to occupational health departments. The new components for the role of occupational health physiotherapy that emerged from the
interviews were agent to organisation, impartial approach, direct access care, expert opinion, role identity, specific vocational rehabilitation and health training. The sub-components that were partially or fully unique to the role of occupational health physiotherapist were also identified. All components informed the development of a multiple-perspective conceptual framework. A synthesis of the salient and dynamic issues of the conceptual framework identified three core concepts, namely risk work, professional identity, and coaching.

Conclusions: This project has made an original contribution to knowledge by exploring the role of occupational health physiotherapy from the perspectives of different stakeholders in order to inform the development of a new multiple-perspective conceptual framework to
advance the practice of occupational health physiotherapists. Although this conceptual framework cannot guarantee the success of the proposed role, it can assist occupational health physiotherapists in negotiating new and advanced working practices and potentially support the role embed within the mandate of an occupational health service. A logical progression to this project is action research and it is recommended that a future project using action research is undertaken in order to evaluate the impact of the multiple-perspective conceptual framework through implementation with organisations embracing a range of occupational health services and occupational health physiotherapy models.

Item Type: Thesis (DProf)
Research Areas: A. > School of Health and Education
B. > Theses
Item ID: 25926
Depositing User: Brigitte Joerg
Date Deposited: 07 Jan 2019 15:08
Last Modified: 02 Apr 2019 22:21
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/25926

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