Delphi technique; Critical Care; Physiotherapy; Professional Competence; Education


Objective: Achieving competency in critical care in entry-level physiotherapy courses across Australia and New Zealand is not essential, and accredited training for qualified physiotherapists working in critical care units is lacking. As a result, practice standards and training may vary. The objective was to establish consensus-based minimum clinical practice standards for physiotherapists working in critical care settings in Australia and New Zealand.

Design: A modified Delphi technique, which consisted of three rounds of questionnaires, was used to obtain consensus on items.

Setting: Australian and New Zealand care settings

Participants: A panel (n=61) was invited from a pool of eligible physiotherapists throughout Australia and New Zealand (n=93). Eligibility criteria were defined a-priori on the basis of possession of expertise and experience in the practice and teaching of critical care physiotherapy clinical skills

Main Outcome Measure: Questionnaires were disseminated electronically (either via email, or SurveyMonkey®). Items were designated by participants as being ‘Essential/Unsure/Not Essential’. Consensus for inclusion was achieved when items were ranked ‘Essential’ by more than 70% of participants.

Results: Fifty physiotherapists consented and participated in the initial Delphi round, of whom forty-five (90%) completed all rounds. Consensus was reached on 199 (89%) items. The panel agreed that 132 (58%) items were ‘Essential’ items for inclusion in the final framework.

Conclusions: This is the first study to develop a consensus framework of minimum standards of practice for physiotherapists working in critical care. The clinical utility of this framework now requires assessment

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