WCPT Africa Region Conference System, 9th WCPT Africa Region Congress

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FIRST CONTACT PHYSIOTHERAPY PRACTICE: OPINIONS AND BELIEFS OF PHYSIOTHERAPISTS WORKING IN GHANA
Ivy Narh, Jonathan Quartey

Last modified: 2013-06-10

Abstract


Purpose

This study sought the opinions and beliefs of physiotherapists in Ghana about First Contact Physiotherapy Practice (FCPP).

 

Relevance

Physiotherapy services have moved towards the primary contact model in response to changes in the health care delivery system. Internationally, direct access has been established in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, United Kingdom and United States of America (most states) and it is also discussed at different physiotherapy fora by other countries. However in Ghana it appears, there is no evidence of legislation for FCPP. What pertains is that physiotherapists see patients directly on their own accord. There is the need therefore, to elicit the opinions and beliefs of physiotherapists working in Ghana to chart the way forward towards FCPP.

 

Participants

Sixty (60) physiotherapists working in Ghana, registered with the Ghana Association of Physiotherapists (GAP) took part in the study. 

 

Methods

A self administered pre-tested 28-item open and closed ended questionnaire was used to obtain information about the, knowledge, opinions and beliefs of FCPP. The questionnaire was distributed to all participants after the rationale of the study had been explained to them and had consented to take part in the study at a General Meeting of the Ghana Association of Physiotherapists, whilst those who could not make it for the meeting received theirs through personal visitation, by post and electronic mail.

Analysis

Responses were summarized using frequency, bar charts and percentages. Chi square was used to determine associations between socio-demographics and opinions and beliefs about FCPP at a significance level of p<0.05.

 

Results

The results showed that 53% of the participants were females whilst 68% had less than five years working experience and 53% of physiotherapists see less than 5 new patients without referral weekly. Fifty seven (95%) of the respondents knew about FCPP whilst 71% agree that FCPP is very challenging and 66% agree that FCPP will be more financially rewarding. Strong support for FCPP was reported by 92% of participants and 63% agreed that the Ghana Health Service was ready for FCPP whilst 43% of the respondents agreed that the training Institute is ready for FCPP.

 

Conclusion

There is a strong desire of physiotherapists in Ghana to work as first contact practitioners. There will be potential benefits such as further studies and role expansion in the health sector for physiotherapists.

More effort must therefore be directed towards adequate training of Physiotherapists to prepare and enable them work efficiently and effectively as first contact practitioners.

 

Implication

This study helped identify potential gaps that need to be addressed by all stake holders to prepare physiotherapists in Ghana for FCPP.

 

Key words: First contact physiotherapy practice, opinions and beliefs.

 

Ethical clearance

 Ethical approval was sought and obtained from the Ethical Review Committee of the School of Allied Health Sciences, College of Health Sciences, University of Ghana.


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