Team approach to osteoarthritis management: Viewpoints of biokineticists and physiotherapists in South Africa
Background: The rehabilitative nature of biokinetics and physiotherapy in osteoarthritis management highlights a complex interaction between different professions to achieve effective outcomes for the patient. The success of a team approach is dependent on key competencies for optimal patient-focused care and appropriate cross-referral systems.
Objectives: To explore and describe the viewpoints of biokineticists and physiotherapists regarding a team approach to osteoarthritis management in the South African public and private healthcare setting.
Methods: A descriptive methodology with a convenience sampling technique was used. The target population consisted of biokineticists (n=47) and physiotherapists (n=165) located within the South African healthcare sectors. A self administered, online questionnaire surveyed rehabilitative professionals’ views of a team approach to osteoarthritis management.
Results: There is no evidence that the biokineticists and physiotherapists differ with respect to how they rate the communication between team members in osteoarthritis management (p=0.68). Communication was viewed as neither of a high nor low quality by biokineticists (43%) and physiotherapists (36%). Biokineticists (54%) and physiotherapists (69%) felt adequately equipped on their understanding of the role of various healthcare professions involved in osteoarthritis management (p=0.22). However, 43% of rehabilitative professionals indicated that they had not been exposed to inter-professional education initiatives (p=0.61).
Conclusion: Both professions were well-versed on the roles of various professions involved in osteoarthritis management, however, communication was not optimal. While this study creates an awareness of the benefits of team-based management for osteoarthritis, the findings could stimulate debate on the optimal implementation of key competencies required for effective teamwork, thereby facilitating patient focused care and referral systems.
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