2017 Grant Awards

The posters and papers listed below each grant arise from work facilitated through the grant funding.

Referral to rheumatologists by physiotherapists to enhance access to care: ability and acceptability

Principal Investigators:  Feldman, D; Bernatsky, S; Woodhouse, L.
Co-investigators: Perreault, K; Desmeule, F; Laliberté, M; Zummer, M; Légaré, J; Grad, R; Pelletier, D.

Project Summary

Early referral to rheumatology of persons with new-onset inflammatory arthritis is associated with better outcomes. Persons with joint problems often consult a physiotherapist without seeing a doctor first. In both Quebec and Alberta, the College of Physicians approved referrals to medical specialists by physiotherapists. Although physiotherapists refer appropriately to orthopedics and are experts in managing musculoskeletal problems, we do not know whether they correctly identify patients with new-onset inflammatory arthritis and are aware of the importance of early rheumatology referral. Further, we do not know whether rheumatologists would be willing to accept referrals from physiotherapists. We conducted a survey of physiotherapists asking them questions about specific case scenarios and we are also currently surveying rheumatologists as to whether they would accept referrals from physiotherapists. The preliminary results of our physiotherapists’ survey (with 334 respondents) indicated that the majority of physiotherapists correctly diagnosed the clinical cases and were aware of the importance of prompt referral to rheumatology of patients with suspected inflammatory disease. Most indicated that it was not very important to refer those with OA and the overwhelming majority would not refer those with low back pain. The implications are that many physiotherapists can distinguish between those with inflammatory and noninflammatory conditions and appropriately refer suspected inflammatory arthritis to rheumatology.

Poster Presentations

Presented at the 2018 American College of Rheumatology meeting.