A theory-based multi-component intervention to increase reactive balance measurement by physiotherapists in three rehabilitation hospitals: an uncontrolled single group study
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BACKGROUND: Most implementation interventions in rehabilitation, including physiotherapy, have used passive, non-theoretical approaches without demonstrated effectiveness. The goal of this study was to improve an important domain of physiotherapy practice - reactive balance measurement - with a targeted theory-based multi-component intervention developed using the Theoretical Domains Framework. The primary objective was to determine documented reactive balance measure use in a 12-month baseline, during, and for three months post- intervention. METHODS: An uncontrolled before-and-after study was completed with physiotherapists at three urban adult rehabilitation hospitals in Ontario, Canada. The 12-month intervention included group meetings, local champions, and health record modifications for a validated reactive balance measure. The primary outcome was the proportion of records with a documented reactive balance measure when balance was assessed pre-, during- and post-intervention. Secondary outcomes were changes in use, knowledge, and confidence post-intervention, differences across sites, and intervention satisfaction. RESULTS: Reactive balance was not measured in any of 211 eligible pre-intervention records. Thirty-three physiotherapists enrolled and 28 completed the study. Reactive balance was measured in 31% of 300 eligible records during-intervention, and in 19% of 90 eligible records post-intervention (p < 0.04). Knowledge and confidence significantly increased post-intervention (all p < 0.05). There were significant site differences in use during- and post-intervention (all p < 0.05). Most participants reported satisfaction with intervention content (71%) and delivery (68%). CONCLUSIONS: Reactive balance measurement was greater among participants during-intervention relative to the baseline, and use was partially sustained post-intervention. Continued study of intervention influences on clinical reasoning and exploration of site differences is warranted.