Patients’ attitudes about physiotherapists and self-referral to physiotherapy in Croatia – a pilot cross-sectional study
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Clinic for Rheumatic Diseases and Rehabilitation, University Hospital Centre Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia
Submission date: 2022-02-03
Acceptance date: 2022-04-26
Publication date: 2023-01-11
Physiother Quart. 2023;31(4):37-43
Research from developed European countries shows that self-referral to physiotherapy can provide adequate clinically and financially effective care for musculoskeletal disorders and is supported by most healthcare stakeholders. This pilot cross-sectional study aimed to investigate Croatian patients’ attitudes about physiotherapists and self-referral to physiotherapy and determine whether specific characteristics of the respondents' influence attitudes.

The study involved 125 subjects, outpatient physiotherapy patients. Sociodemographic and medical data were collected at the end of the physiotherapy cycle. At the same time, the respondents' filled out a survey questionnaire on attitudes about physiotherapists and self-referral to physiotherapy, which was created for this research.

The respondents' attitudes show that physiotherapists possess and practice the necessary competencies in the health care of musculoskeletal disorders and that they are insufficiently represented in health care. The results implicate that physiotherapy is a patient-centred, effective and well-accepted health service. Self-referral to physiotherapy has potential socioeconomic implications for the individual and the health system. The results show (p < 0.05) that attitudes do not differ concerning gender, level of education or the number of previously attended cycles of physiotherapy. Still, increasing age decreases a positive attitude towards the effectiveness of physiotherapy and the professional autonomy of physiotherapists.

The attitudes of Croatian patients toward physiotherapists and the possibility of self-referral to physiotherapy are positive and negatively correlated only with the characteristic of the age.

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