Integrating physiotherapists within primary health care teams: perspectives of family physicians and nurse practitioners
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The international literature suggests a number of benefits related to integrating physiotherapists into primary health care (PHC) teams. Considering the mandate of PHC teams in Canada, emphasizing healthy living and chronic disease management, a broad range of providers, inclusive of physiotherapists is required. However, physiotherapists are only sparsely integrated into these teams. This study explores the perspectives of "core" PHC team members, family physicians and nurse practitioners, regarding the integration of physiotherapists within Ontario (Canada) PHC teams. Twenty individual semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted, transcribed verbatim, and then analyzed following an iterative process drawing from an interpretive phenomenological approach. Five key themes emerged which highlighted "how physiotherapists could and do contribute as team members within PHC teams particularly related to musculoskeletal health and chronic disease management". The perceived value of physiotherapists within Ontario, Canada PHC teams was a unanimous sentiment particularly in terms of musculoskeletal health, chronic disease management and maximizing health human resources efficiency to ensure the right care, is delivered by the right practitioner, at the right time.
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