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The perceptions of danish physiotherapists on the ethical issues related to the physiotherapist-patient relationship during the first session: a phenomenological approach
Department of Physiotherapy Health Sciences, Health Sciences Center, Lund university.
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Health Sciences, Health and Rehab.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6975-8344
2011 (English)In: BMC Medical Ethics, ISSN 1472-6939, E-ISSN 1472-6939, Vol. 12Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 12
National Category
Physiotherapy
Research subject
Physiotherapy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-3240DOI: 10.1186/1472-6939-12-21ISI: 000296358900001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-80053924830Local ID: 10a45f13-1760-4037-b5d4-218bd9715990OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-3240DiVA, id: diva2:976096
Note
Validerad; 2011; Bibliografisk uppgift: Article Number: 21; 20111110 (andbra)Available from: 2016-09-29 Created: 2016-09-29 Last updated: 2018-07-10Bibliographically approved

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