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Third of NHS hospitals lack physiotherapy input into pre-op assessment of amputations

25 November 2014 - 9:49am

Research has found that nearly 35 per cent of hospitals in England, Wales, Northern Ireland did not involve physiotherapists in pre-operative assessments of patients needing lower limb amputations.

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Physiotherapists in multidisciplinary teams should be part of pre-operative discussions - photo: Charlie Milligan

The finding was described as ‘shocking’ by Julia Earle, clinical specialist physiotherapist in amputee rehabilitation. It was published on 14 November in a National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death report.

Ms Earle, who contributed to the report, told Frontline that it was very important physiotherapists should be involved pre-operatively at an early stage. This was so that physiotherapists could plan rehabilitation and discharge for patients.

She said: ‘We should be involved in selection of the appropriate level of amputation, because an assessment of the patients’ future potential use of a prosthesis will often have an impact on the level of amputation.’

One of the key recommendations in the document is that physiotherapists in multidisciplinary teams should be part of pre-operative discussions. It says they should also contribute to post-operative rehabilitation and the coordination of discharge plans.

Ms Earle described the independent report as a ‘massive opportunity’ for physiotherapists to promote a better standard of care for amputees.

‘I presented this at our British Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Amputee Rehabilitation conference (on 14 November),’ she said.

‘I am pressing physios to go back to their trusts and discuss the findings with vascular teams.’

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