Perceptions of Physical Therapists of Online Introduction and Training in the Home-Based Older Persons Upstreaming Prevention Physical Therapy (HOP-UP-PT) Program: A Qualitative Study.

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Introduction Traditionally, physical therapy has adopted a tertiary approach to preventative care. However, recent trends in fall-related injuries and deaths among older individuals suggest a dire need for earlier intervention. The Home-based Older Persons Upstreaming Prevention Physical Therapy (HOP-UP-PT) program has been developed to improve the health and overall function of community-dwelling older adults at risk of functional decline. As demand continually rises for HOP-UP-PT services, online training modules have been developed to safely and efficiently provide HOP-UP-PT competency to physical therapists. The purpose of this study was to examine self-reported experiences and perceptions of physical therapists after completing an asynchronous training program to deliver HOP-UP-PT. Methods After securing Oakland University IRB approval, a qualitative study using a sample of convenience used two structured focus group interviews. Inclusion criteria required participants to be licensed physical therapists (PTs) in the state of Michigan providing at least 20 hours of direct patient care per week. Participants completed eight 30-minute training modules, each with a corresponding quiz. Upon completion, PTs attended one of two video conference focus groups. Data was analyzed using the constant comparative method to develop themes and concepts based on responses about the training modules and the overall HOP-UP-PT program. Results Twelve PTs with a median age of 31-40 years participated. Analysis of two focus group sessions identified three concepts (Novel Approach to Physical Therapy Care, Integration of a Preventative Approach into Clinical Practice, and Knowledge Translation) and ten themes (Addressing an Unmet Need, Establishing a Working Relationship with Community Centers, Applicability to Various Settings, Shifting the Mindset to a Prevention-focused Paradigm, Applicability to Physical Therapists that Care for Older Adults, Patient Engagement and Prevention, Value for the Professional, Importance of Availability of Options in a Learning Platform, Ongoing Availability of Program Resources and Tools, and Clinical Application Practice). Conclusion PTs identified the HOP-UP-PT program as a novel, clinically applicable, and adding value to the profession. Furthermore, its upstream focus aligns with the growing role of preventative care by PTs; however, as HOP-UP-PT is not a traditional approach, additional training and clinical support materials may facilitate adoption and clinical application. HOP-UP-PT uses a preventative approach to clinical practice, but efforts to translate knowledge to PT are an important consideration. Additionally, the study identified a need for refinement and modifications to the existing HOP-UP-PT training modules.





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