Communication and context are important to Indigenous children with physical disability and their carers at a community-based physiotherapy service: a qualitative study

Caroline Greenstein, Anne Lowell, David Thomas

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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    Abstract

    Question: What are the experiences of Indigenous children with physical disability and their carers of their community-based physiotherapy service? What factors influence their experiences of the physiotherapy service and how could the service be improved? 

    Design: A qualitative study using in-depth, semi-structured open-ended interviews consistent with the researchers' interpretivist perspectives and ethical principles of Indigenous health research. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed and coded for themes with qualitative research software using inductive analysis. The interviews were then checked for transcription accuracy and the themes were confirmed with the participants. 
    Participants: Nine parents and foster carers of children with physical disability aged 0 to 21 years, five children and youth with physical disability aged 8 to 21 years. 
    Results: The data generated three themes, which informed practice recommendations: carers of children with physical disability experience increased demands and complexity in their lives; relationships involving caring, consistency and communication are important to consumers using the physiotherapy service; and being Indigenous influences consumers' experiences in ways that may not be obvious to non-Indigenous service providers. The issue of communication underpinned the participants' experiences throughout these themes. 
    Conclusion: The research highlighted the importance of effective communication, developing relationships, viewing the child wholistically and recognising the influence of being Indigenous on clients' healthcare needs and experiences. The results suggested that community-based physiotherapists adopt a family/person-centred, context-specific approach when working with Indigenous children with a physical disability and their carers. 
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)42-47
    Number of pages6
    JournalJournal of Physiotherapy
    Volume62
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

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