Chileshe et al., 2016 Identification Of Ethical Issues Encountered By Physiotherapy Practitioners in Managing Patients With Low Back Pain at Two Major Hospitals in Lusaka

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Keywords: Ethical Issues, Dilemmas, Low Back Pains, Physiotherapy Practice


Background: Physiotherapy management of patients with low back pain (LBP) raises ethical issues that may affect practitioners’ efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery.

Objective: The objective of this study was to have insight into the ethical issues and dilemmas encountered by physiotherapy practitioners in management of patients with LBP.

Methodology: An exploratory study design using qualitative method was used. Two Focus Group Discussions were conducted at two major hospitals in Lusaka. Sixteen physiotherapy practitioners participated in this study. Data was analysed according to the modified principle of Giorgi’s phenomenological analysis and presented verbatim.

Results: Results revealed four dimensions of ethical issues encountered in management of LBP. These included Conflict of culture and treatment process, Patient/Physiotherapy practitioner relationships, Informed Consent and dilemmas encountered in management of LBP. Ethical issues were raised concerning cultural competences and recognising professional boundaries in clinical practice.

Conclusion: Physiotherapy practitioners encountered cultural and professional boundary ethical challenges in the management of patients with LBP. These may affect in the effectiveness of healthcare delivery. Physiotherapy practitioners would benefit from further training on ethics in clinical practice.