Physiotherapists’ perceptions of patient adherence to home exercises in chronic musculoskeletal rehabilitation.


Background – Rehabilitation of chronic musculoskeletal conditions usually involves long-term home-based exercise programmes. Exercises have been shown to alleviate pain, improve joint mobility and stability, allow faster return to work and prevent progression of chronic conditions. Non-adherence of patients to unsupervised long-term exercise is a major problem that affects treatment outcome. This study explores UK physiotherapists’ perceptions of exercise adherence and their interventions to tackle it in clinical practice.

Method – A convenience sample of five experienced physiotherapists from Sheffield Hallam University were interviewed. Interviews were transcribed and analysed. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was used to analyse data transcriptions.

Results – The identified themes revolved around issues of patient-therapist collaboration in chronic rehabilitation. The subordinate themes were: negotiating ownership and self management, education and pain, professional power and patient attitudes and communication.

Conclusion – Experienced physiotherapists recognised barriers and often critically viewed their practice. They undertook necessary interventions in their practice but persisting non-adherence made them question the patient’s role in the partnership.

Indian physiotherapists’ perceptions of factors that influence the adherence of Indian patients to physiotherapy treatment recommendations.


Background: Non-adherence to treatment is common and costly. Outside western culture little is known about the reasons for non-adherence with physiotherapy. This qualitative, grounded theory, focus group study investigated physiotherapists’ perception of the factors affecting non-adherence of patients to physiotherapy treatment in India.

Method: Six practising physiotherapists from New Delhi, India, formed a focus group and were invited to discuss their views regarding factors influencing patient non-adherence and their strategies to cope with these factors. The dialogue was transcribed and analysed. Significant statements/ words describing non-adherence were identified and clusters of meaning developed and used to write a composite, thematic description presenting the essence of the discussion.

Results: The major factors identified were: poor awareness of physiotherapy and poor infrastructure, time, economic factors, social and cultural factors and poor communication. Patient and family education formed the basis for many of the strategies identified by physiotherapist to help them manage non-adherence.

Conclusion: Physiotherapists in India recognise some barriers to adherence and have strategies that they perceive as helpful in encouraging motivation that are unique to the Indian social context. Other barriers to adherence and strategies recognised as key to improving adherence in western countries were not recognised by this group.

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