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A mixed methods exploration of physiotherapist's approaches to analgesic use among patients with hip osteoarthritis.

Holden, MA; Whittle, R; Waterfield, J; Chesterton, L; Cottrell, E; Quicke, JG; Mallen, CD


R Whittle

J Waterfield

L Chesterton

E Cottrell

JG Quicke

CD Mallen


OBJECTIVE: To explore how physiotherapists currently address analgesic use among patients with hip osteoarthritis, and their beliefs about the acceptability of prescribing for these patients. METHODS: A cross-sectional questionnaire was mailed to 3126 UK-based physiotherapists. Approaches to analgesic use among patients with hip osteoarthritis were explored using a case vignette. Semi-structured telephone interviews were undertaken with 21 questionnaire responders and analysed thematically. SETTING: UK. PARTICIPANTS: Physiotherapists who had treated a patient with hip osteoarthritis in the previous 6 months. RESULTS: Questionnaire response: 53% (n=1646). One thousand one hundred forty eight physiotherapists reported treating a patient with hip osteoarthritis in the last 6 months (applicable responses), of whom nine (1%) were non-medical prescribers. Nearly all physiotherapists (98%) reported that they would address analgesic use for the patient with hip osteoarthritis, most commonly by signposting them to their GP (83%). Fifty six percent would discuss optimal use of current medication, and 33%, would discuss use of over-the-counter medications. Interviews revealed that variations in physiotherapists' approaches to analgesic use were influenced by personal confidence, patient safety concerns, and their perceived professional remit. Whilst many recognised the benefits of analgesia prescribing for both patients and GP workload, additional responsibility for patient safety was a perceived barrier. CONCLUSIONS: How physiotherapists currently address analgesic use with patients with hip osteoarthritis is variable. Although the potential benefits of independent prescribing were recognised, not all physiotherapist want the additional responsibility. Further guidance supporting optimisation of analgesic use among patients with hip OA may help better align care with best practice guidelines and reduce GP referrals.

Acceptance Date Aug 8, 2018
Online Publication Date Aug 17, 2018
Publication Date Sep 1, 2019
Journal Physiotherapy
Publisher De Gruyter
Pages 328 - 337
Keywords Analgesics; Hip osteoarthritis; Mixed methods; Physiotherapy; Prescribing