Experiences and needs of physiotherapists and exercise therapists regarding the management of working people with complaints of the arm, neck and shoulder (CANS): a focus group study

    Publication of Innovations in Care

    J.J. Brunnekreef, A. Feleus, H.S. Miedema, J.B. Staal, N. Hutting | Article | Publication date: 13 August 2022
    Background Non-traumatic complaints of the arm, neck and/or shoulder (CANS) are difficult-to-treat musculoskeletal conditions. CANS treatment has varying degrees of success, particularly in the working population. Objectives To evaluate the experiences and needs of physiotherapists (PTs) and exercise therapists (ETs) regarding the treatment of working patients with CANS. Design An exploratory qualitative focus group study was conducted. Method Qualitative data were collected from 27 therapists who were purposefully recruited for their broad range of experience and qualifications. The data was analysed using thematic analysis. Results Both PTs and ETs assess CANS extensively by exploring their patients' psychosocial factors, work-related factors, illness beliefs, and working conditions. Therapists apply hands-off treatment interventions, such as coaching the patient to make behavioural changes and providing self-management support. However, therapists experience many difficulties in these areas, resulting in a need to learn more about coaching techniques for behavioural change, engaging in meaningful conversations about the patient's perspective, supporting patients in building a strong social network in the workplace, and creating a professional network for collaboration. Conclusions The treatment of working people with CANS is difficult for PTs and ETs. Therapists express a need to learn more about supporting self-management, applying coaching techniques and engaging in meaningful conversations. Moreover, therapists indicate a need to establish a professional multidisciplinary network to support collaborations with other disciplines to treat working patients with CANS.

    Author(s) - affiliated with Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences

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