People caring for chronically ill or disabled people living at home undertake a difficult and grueling job, even though family members and carers may view this caring as a ‘labour of love’. Regular visits from a community-based physiotherapist provide an opportunity to develop and improve the quality of physical care for the client concerned and can give much needed support and hope to families and carers. The relationship that develops between physiotherapists and ‘family care teams’ in such situations is more complex than has been previously acknowledged. In this qualitative study, hermeneutic phenomenology was used to explore the lived experience of the relationships that develop between physiotherapists and members of these ‘family care teams’ and what these relationships mean to those involved. Semi-structured home-based interviews were held with clients, families, carers and their visiting physiotherapists across NSW, Australia. Findings revealed that relationship-centred care in the home healthcare setting evolves in complex ways as the interpersonal relationship between the physiotherapist and the ‘family care team’ develops. In particular, physiotherapists use composite relationship-treatment approaches to practice. The personal interaction is just as important as the therapeutic interaction; indeed, such embodied dialogue supports the therapeutic interaction in a variety of ways, which are not usually discussed as part of physiotherapy practice. In particular, these relationship-treatment approaches are used to enhance communication and interaction with clients and family care team members in ways that engender confidence and comfort for all participants. Deeper understanding of these social interactions may enhance awareness of such issues in professional practice and advance the development of mindful, therapeutic relationship skills.
|Keywords:||Community-based Physiotherapy, Hermeneutic Phenomenology, Receptivity, Relationship-centred Healthcare, Responsiveness, Tidal Model|
Doctoral Candidate, School of Community Health, Charles Sturt University, North Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia
Charles Sturt University, New South Wales, Australia
Director, The Education for Practice Institute, Charles Sturt University, North Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia
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