Interventions to aid patient adherence to physiotherapist prescribed self-management strategies: a systematic review

Physiotherapist prescribed self-management strategies are an important adjunct to ‘hands on’ treatment. However, treatment outcomes are likely to be related to whether patients adhere to the prescribed strategy. Therefore, physiotherapists should be aware of adherence aiding interventions designed to maximise patient outcomes underpinned by quality research studies.

The purpose of this study was to conduct a systematic review of the interventions used to aid patient adherence to all physiotherapist prescribed self-management strategies.

The search included the databases CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE, PUBMED, PSYCINFO, SPORTSDiscus, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, PEDro and Mednar for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) published in a peer reviewed journal from inception to November 2014. Data were extracted using a standardised form from twelve included RCTs for patient adherence rates to self-management strategies for interventions used to aid patient adherence and usual care. Two independent reviewers conducted methodological quality assessment.

Twelve different interventions to aid patient adherence to exercise were recorded from twelve fair to high quality RCTs. Potential adherence aiding interventions include an activity monitor and feedback system, written exercise instructions, behavioural exercise programme with booster sessions and goal setting.

Despite a number of studies demonstrating interventions to positively influence patient adherence to exercise, there is insufficient data to endorse their use in clinical practice. No RCTs examining adherence aiding interventions to self-management strategies other than exercise were identified, indicating a significant gap in the literature.

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