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Perceptions of workforce managers about the role and responsibilities of physiotherapists in occupational health rehabilitation: A qualitative study

Laran Chetty.

Introduction: It is imperative that occupational health physiotherapists understand their role and responsibilities from the perceptions of workforce managers who are responsible for commissioning their services in order to ensure that previously unknown physiotherapy needs can be surfaced and known needs can be improved and refined. Aim: The aim of the study was therefore to explore the perceptions of workforce managers involved in commissioning occupational health rehabilitation services about the role and responsibilities of physiotherapists providing these services. Methods: The study incorporated a qualitative framework underpinned by an interpretive construct. Five workforce managers who were involved in the commissioning of occupational health rehabilitation services were interviewed. Data were collected via semi-structured interviews and analysed using thematic content analysis. Results: Several themes and sub-categories about the role and responsibilities of occupational health physiotherapy were identified. The findings highlighted the complex nature about the role of physiotherapists providing occupational health rehabilitation services. Conclusions: In summary, to establish a role for occupational health physiotherapists based solely on clinical skills would fundamentally devalue the role because it became apparent that physiotherapists were perceived as providing a varied role with numerous responsibilities within occupational health rehabilitation services.

Key words: Physiotherapy, occupational health, rehabilitation, workforce managers

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