A profile of patients accessing the physiotherapy clinic at the University of the Western Cape: A short report

  • Danelle Hess
  • José M. Frantz


Background: Understanding the patient conditions seen at physiotherapy clinics used as training sites can assist in ensuring that evidence-based management techniques are included in the undergraduate curriculum of the physiotherapy degree.

Aim: To profile the clinical cases seen at a physiotherapy clinic used for undergraduate training of physiotherapists.

Study Design: A retrospective cross-sectional design was employed for this study.

Methods: A document analysis of patient records was performed on all patients that accessed the University of the Western Cape physiotherapy clinic for three years. Descriptive statistics were used to present data in the form of percentages and frequencies. Cross tabulation was employed to assess the use of a particular treatment choice to the area that received treatment.

Results: A total of 785 patient records accessed between were assessed during the three year period. A large amount of areas of pain were highlighted and the three common areas of pain were; cervical spine (n=138), lumbar spine (n=-114) and the shoulder (n=97). A range of treatment techniques were used by the students and these included; soft tissue mobilization, thermotherapy, stretching exercises, patient-education, strengthening exercises, joint mobilization and cryotherapy. The most common treatment choices for highlighted areas of pain were soft tissue mobilization and heat.

Conclusion: The researcher was able to determine the common conditions seen at the on-site physiotherapy clinic and which treatments were used by undergraduate students for these conditions. The results can assist those involved in the training of these undergraduate students with ensuring evidence-based techniques are used during treatment.


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