Monday, February 6, 2012

A Few New Articles for Your Pleasure

Schlegal C, Woermann U, Rethans JJ, van der Vleuten C. Validity evidence and reliability of a Simulated Patient Feedback Instrument. BMC Medical Education 2012, 12:6 doi:10.1186/1472-6920-12-6


Background: In the training of healthcare professionals, one of the advantages of communication training with simulated patients (SPs) is the SP's ability to provide direct feedback to students after a simulated clinical encounter. The quality of SP feedback must be monitored, especially because it is well known that feedback can have a profound effect on student performance. Due to the current lack of valid and reliable instruments to assess the quality of SP feedback, our study examined the validity and reliability of one potential instrument, the 'modified Quality of Simulated Patient Feedback Form' (mQSF).

Methods: Content validity of the mQSF was assessed by inviting experts in the area of simulated clinical encounters to rate the importance of the mQSF items. Moreover, generalizability theory was used to examine the reliability of the mQSF. Our data came from videotapes of clinical encounters between six simulated patients and six students and the ensuing feedback from the SPs to the students. Ten faculty members judged the SP feedback according to the items on the mQSF. Three weeks later, this procedure was repeated with the same faculty members and recordings.

Results: All but two items of the mQSF received importance ratings of >2.5 on a four-point rating scale. A generalizability coefficient of 0.77 was established with two judges observing one encounter.

Conclusions: The findings for content validity and reliability with two judges suggest that the mQSF is a valid and reliable instrument to assess the quality of feedback provided by simulated patients.

Praestegaard J, Gard G. The perceptions of danish physiotherapists on the ethical issues related to the physiotherapist-patient relationship during the first session: a phenomenological approach. BMC Medical Ethics 2011, 12:21 doi:10.1186/1472-6939-12-21


Background: In the course of the last four decades, the profession of physiotherapy has progressively expanded its scope of responsibility and its focus on professional autonomy and evidence-based clinical practice. To preserve professional autonomy, it is crucial for the physiotherapy profession to meet society's expectations and demands of professional competence as well as ethical competence. Since it is becoming increasingly popular to choose a carrier in private practice in Denmark this context constitutes the frame of this study. Physiotherapy in private practice involves mainly a meeting between two partners: the physiotherapist and the patient. In the meeting, power asymmetry between the two partners is a condition that the physiotherapist has to handle. The aim of this study was to explore whether ethical issues rise during the first physiotherapy session discussed from the perspective of the physiotherapists in private practice.

Methods: A qualitative approach was chosen and semi-structured interviews with 21 physiotherapists were carried out twice and analysed by using a phenomenological framework.

Results: Four descriptive themes emerged: general reflections on ethics in physiotherapy; the importance of the first physiotherapy session; the influence of the clinical environment on the first session and; reflections and actions upon beneficence towards the patient within the first session. The results show that the first session and the clinical context in private practice are essential from an ethical perspective.

Conclusions: Ethical issues do occur within the first session, the consciousness about ethical issues differs in Danish physiotherapy private practice, and reflections and acts are to a lesser extent based on awareness of ethical theories, principles and ethical guidelines. Beneficence towards the patient is a fundamental aspect of the physiotherapists' understanding of the first session. However, if the physiotherapist lacks a deeper ethical awareness, the physiotherapist may reason and/or act ethically to a varying extent: only an ethically conscious physiotherapist will know when he or she reflects and acts ethically. Further exploration of ethical issues in private practice is recommendable, and as management policy is deeply embedded within the Danish public sector there are reasons to explore public contexts of physiotherapy as well.

Scheermesser M, Bachmann S, Schamann A, Oesch P, Kool J. A qualitative study on the role of cultural background in patients' perspectives on rehabilitation. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2012, 13:5 doi:10.1186/1471-2474-13-5


Background: Low back pain (LBP) is one of the major concerns in health care. In Switzerland, musculoskeletal problems represent the third largest illness group with 9.4 million consultations per year. The return to work rate is increased by an active treatment program and saves societal costs. However, results after rehabilitation are generally poorer in patients with a Southeast European cultural background than in other patients. This qualitative research about the rehabilitation of patients with LBP and a Southeast European cultural background, therefore, explores possible barriers to successful rehabilitation.

Methods: We used a triangulation of methods combining three qualitative methods of data collection: 13 semi-structured in-depth interviews with patients who have a Southeast European cultural background and live in Switzerland, five semi-structured in-depth interviews and two focus groups with health professionals, and a literature review. Between June and December 2008, we recruited participants at a Rehabilitation Centre in the German-speaking part of Switzerland.

Results: To cope with pain, many patients prefer passive strategies, which are not in line with recommended coping strategies. Moreover, the families of patients tend to support passive behaviour and reduce the autonomy of patients. Health professionals and researchers propagate active strategies including activity in the presence of pain, yet several patients do not consider psychological factors contributing to LBP. The views of health professionals are in line with research evidence demonstrating the importance of psychosocial factors for LBP. Treatment goals focusing on increasing daily activities and return to work are not well understood by patients partly due to communication problems, which is something that patients and health professionals are aware of. Additional barriers to returning to work are caused by poor job satisfaction and other work-related factors.

Conclusions: LBP rehabilitation can be improved by addressing the following points. Early management of LBP should be activity-centred instead of pain-centred. It is mandatory to implement return to work management early, including return to adapted work, to improve rehabilitation for patients. Rehabilitation has to start when patients have been off work for three months. Using interpreters more frequently would improve communication between health professionals and patients, and reduce misunderstandings about treatment procedures. Special emphasis must be put on the process of goal-formulation by spending more time with patients in order to identify barriers to goal attainment. Information on the return to work process should also include the financial aspects of unemployment and disability.

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