A survey of patient education practices and perceptions of physiotherapists: a mixed methods study

Abigail Grover Snook*, Solveig A. Arnadottir, Roma Forbes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Patient education is an integral part of physiotherapy practice. The use of patient education and the adoption of a patient-centered approach to education has not been examined in a European setting. Objective: To explore the frequency and perceived importance of patient education practices of physiotherapists in Iceland. Methods: A convergent mixed methods study design was utilized. A cross-sectional, web-based survey was completed by 216 physiotherapists (35.1% response rate). Transformed qualitative data played a secondary role to quantitative results measuring frequencies of use and perceived importance of a spectrum of patient education practices. Results: Providing exercise and diagnostic information had the highest rated frequency and importance. Advising on social support and having the patient explain why their home exercises were important were rated lowest. A large difference was reported between frequency and importance when collaborating with patients on goal-setting. Therapists reported delivering education through discussions and physical demonstrations, while relying on visual cues and return demonstrations to evaluate education effectiveness. Patient-specific education, including preferred learning style, was not always considered. The highest-rated barriers to patient education were patient characteristics that were psychosocial in nature. Results regarding readiness for education indicated needs to assess patient motivation while managing external barriers. Conclusion: The results indicate that physiotherapists engage in a wide variety of patient education activities that they consider important. Barriers to patient education identified by therapists may be managed by further skill development in a collaborative patient-centered approach to patient education.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysiotherapy Theory and Practice
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

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© 2022 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Other keywords

  • barriers
  • Patient education
  • patient readiness
  • patient-centered approach
  • Sjúklingafræðsla
  • Sjúkraþjálfar


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