1 in 4 people experience mental health problems in any given year, 1 in 6 experience work related stress, depression or anxiety. Only 25% of those experiencing emotional distress seek and receive treatment, with many being dependent on the informal support of family or colleagues.
Physiotherapists are also encouraged to investigate Biopsychosocial issues with their patients, through management of persistent pain conditions and may not feel equipped to successfully interpret or manage the information that they receive from the patient. This additional stress can also impact on the Physiotherapists emotional wellbeing and have an impact on patient care.
The aim of this project was to ensure that all Physiotherapists have an appropriate level of emotional literacy so that they are able read/notice the signs of emotional distress in themselves and others and then act appropriately to support themself and others.
An online e-learn module was created to help provide emotional wellbeing support, Physiotherapists from Nuffield Health were invited to complete the training. This was non mandatory and no timeline was given for completion. Communications were sent out to all physiotherapists explaining the purpose of the training so that they were fully informed.
The training objectives were:
- Have a better understanding of what emotional wellbeing is.
- Be able to recognise possible signs and symptoms of when you, a colleague or customer maybe struggling.
- Be able to identify possible actions or activities that can have a positive impact on emotional wellbeing.
- Understand the services available within Nuffield Health and the appropriate referral pathways.
3 months after the launch of the training a survey was sent out inviting people to provide feedback on the training, the results were anonymised. They were asked to provide information about how the training had impacted on their confidence to identify signs of emotional distress and ways they could have an impact on this. They were also asked to rate the training and identify future training needs.
400 Physiotherapists completed the training.150 Physiotherapists completed the Survey.
Following completion of the module there was an average confidence score of:
- 88% confidence in identifying the signs and symptoms of emotional distress.
- 84% confidence in identifying ways to improve or maintain their own emotional wellbeing.
- 88% confidence in identifying ways to improve or maintain the emotional wellbeing of friends, colleagues or patients.
- 93% would recommend the training to a colleague to complete.
- 89% would be keen to go on to complete further training on mental health issues.
Providing education on emotional wellbeing helps improve physiotherapists confidence in identifying the signs and symptoms of emotional distress and identifying ways to maintain and improve emotional wellbeing within themselves, and also their friends, colleagues and patients.
Physiotherapists are keen to engage in training about emotional wellbeing and there is a desire to learn more.
Training should be made available to support Physiotherapists identify ways to maintain and improve their own emotional wellbeing as well as the wellbeing of their colleagues and patients. This training does not need to be mandated but needs to be clearly available and accessible.
Further opportunities exist in expanding this training further, to help support the emotional wellbeing of not only our patients but also our workforce and could include practical demonstrations, video content and strategies that are applicable to everyday clinical practice.
There is also a requirement to support clinical leaders to support members of their team that might be displaying signs of emotional distress, including appropriate work place adjustments and workforce strategies.
Top three learning points
This project was undertaken with the Support of Nuffield Health.
This work was presented at Physiotherapy UK 2019
Please see the attached Innovations poster below.
For further information about this work please contact Owen Ledbetter.