The Impact of Staff Education on Improving Osteoporosis Knowledge Base and Clinical Practice Patterns in Physical and Occupational Therapists.

Background & Purpose : Research demonstrates not only deficiencies in screening, but also a lack of clinical expertise in the recognition and treatment of patients with or at risk for osteoporosis. The purpose of this project was to examine whether staff education was effective in changing clinical staff knowledge and practice patterns in this patient population.Case Description : Three, 2-hour educational sessions on osteoporosis were presented to Physical and Occupational Therapy Staff. Content included pathophysiology, prevalence, risk factors, evidence based examination tools, and therapeutic and educational interventions. A pre-test assessed staff awareness and current knowledge base in these areas. A Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) was developed with pre and post education chart reviews to evaluate clinical knowledge base and competence. Clinical competencies assessed for 2 evaluative, 1 manual intervention and 1 therapeutic exercise technique upon course completion. A post-test assessed the aforementioned areas to determine if knowledge base of risk factors and clinical decision-making improved.Outcomes : Fifty-eight therapists and assistants (41 PTs, 6 PTAs, 9 OTs, 1 student PT, 1 student OT) from four hospital campuses participated in an educational sessions on osteoporosis. Practice settings were varied and included settings such as inpatient, outpatient, and rehabilitation units. The majority of therapists came from outpatient (24) or acute care (14) settings. The median number of years in practice excluding the two students was 12.5 (range 2 weeks to 31 years). A Wilcoxon Signed Ranks test noted significant differences between pre-test and post-test results for the total osteoporosis knowledge score and four questions involving assessment and contraindicated activities. No significant differences in osteoporosis knowledge between PTs, OTs, and PTAs or between hospital campuses were found.Discussion : Therapists were able to identify four risk factors for osteoporosis at pre-test, but had knowledge deficits in the areas of assessment of contraindicated activities for patients with a diagnosis of osteoporosis. This is consistent with other findings where the majority of therapists score high in knowledge of osteoporosis risk factors, while approximately 1/3 of therapists would prescribe contraindicated exercises and activities.Physical and Occupational Therapists may be in need of in-services and continuing education to supplement entry-level education on appropriate screening, assessment, and interventions for patients with low bone mineral density. This will be important as the population of those with osteoporosis or at risk continues to grow and be referred for therapy services.

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  • Control #: 1991785
  • Type: Poster
  • Event/Year: CSM2015
  • Authors: Kelly Duszak McArdle, Maureen P. Brolly, Kerstin M. Palombaro, Risheeta K. Joshi
  • Keywords: Osteoporosis|Clinical Competence|Knowledge

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