Perceived barriers and facilitators to the provision of physiotherapy in residential aged care facilities: A national survey of Australian physiotherapists

Publication Name

Australasian Journal on Ageing


Objective: To identify and explore physiotherapists' perceived barriers and facilitators to the provision of physiotherapy in Australian residential aged care facilities (RACFs). Methods: A national cross-sectional survey was conducted with physiotherapists who worked in Australian RACFs for at least 50% of their working week. A variety of methods, such as social media, direct contact with aged care providers, and the Australian Physiotherapy Association, were used to advertise the survey. A rigorous design was used to develop the online survey to collect views on barriers and facilitators to provision of physiotherapy in Australian RACFs. Descriptive analysis was conducted using SPSS to analyse participant characteristics. Inductive framework analysis was conducted using NVivo 12 to identify key themes. Results: One hundred and sixty-five qualified and registered physiotherapists (mean age 39.5 years, 74% female) who worked predominantly in Australian RACFs participated in this study. Five themes were identified: individual physiotherapist, collaborations, organisational, RACF community, and public policy. Each had associated barriers and facilitators to provision of physiotherapy as perceived by physiotherapists. Individual, collaborative, and RACF community factors were the main facilitators of physiotherapy in Australian RACFs. Organisational and public policy factors were identified as the main barriers of physiotherapy. Conclusions: This study highlighted what factors are perceived by RACF physiotherapists to facilitate provision of physiotherapy, and what areas of improvement should be considered to potentially provide more effective care in Australian RACFs. Due to the varied responses in this study, further research is warranted to determine the degree of impact of the identified factors.

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