|Author(s)||Adrian Yip, Veronika Schoeb|
|Title||Facilitating patient participation in physiotherapy: Symptom-talk during exercise therapy from an Asian context|
|Tag(s)||EMCA, Healthcare communication, Patient Participation, Health literacy, Medical EMCA|
|Journal||Physiotherapy Theory and Practice: An International Journal of Physical Therapy|
Background and purpose: Patient participation is the cornerstone for effective physiotherapy intervention. The aim was to analyze how patients and physiotherapists negotiate symptoms during exercise therapy and describe patients’ participation during this process. Methods: Nineteen consultations with sixteen patients and six physiotherapists were video-recorded in two Hong Kong outpatient settings. Conversation Analysis was used to uncover interactional aspects of symptom-talk, focusing on turn-taking, sequence organization, and vocabulary. Results: Physiotherapists explored patients’ symptoms only minimally and their frequent use of closed-ended questions allowed limited opportunity for participation. For patient-initiated symptom-talk, less than half elicited actions from physiotherapists, whose minimal acknowledgments were often accepted. Yet, some patients achieved a more substantial contribution through: (1) pausing the exercise-in-progress; (2) gazing at the physiotherapist; (3) pointing at the painful area; and (4) interrupting the physiotherapist, thereby challenging the social order. While discussion about symptoms was often initiated by physiotherapists, some patients participated actively by engaging in certain communicative strategies. Conclusions: Patient participation can be improved by physiotherapists offering a supportive environment (i.e., question design, responding to patients’ initiations, and promoting health literacy), and by patients embracing action-engendering communicative strategies. The fine details of interaction shed light onto the subtleties of symptom-talk initiated by patients or physiotherapists in physiotherapy.