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Recommendations for integrating physiotherapy into an interprofessional outpatient care setting for people living with HIV: a qualitative study

25 May 2019


To identify factors to consider when integrating physiotherapy (PT) into an interprofessional outpatient HIV care setting from the perspective of healthcare professionals and adults living with HIV.


We conducted a qualitative descriptive study using semi-structured interviews (healthcare professionals) and focus groups (adults living with HIV). We asked participants their perspectives on barriers, facilitators and strategies to accessing and participating in outpatient PT, important characteristics physiotherapists should possess working in outpatient HIV care, content and structure of PT delivery, and programme evaluation.

Recruitment and setting

We purposively sampled healthcare professionals based on their experiences working in interprofessional HIV care and recruited adults with HIV via word of mouth and in collaboration with an HIV-specialty hospital in Toronto, Canada. Interviews were conducted via Skype or in-person and focus groups were conducted in-person at the HIV-specialty hospital.


12 healthcare professionals with a median of 12 years experience in HIV care, and 13 adults living with HIV (11 men and 2 women) with a median age of 50 years and living with a median of 6 concurrent health conditions in addition to HIV.


Overall impressions of PT in outpatient HIV care and factors to consider when implementing PT into an interprofessional care setting include: promoting the role of, and evidence for, PT in outpatient HIV care, structuring PT delivery to accommodate the unique needs and priorities of adults living with HIV, working collaboratively with a physiotherapist on the healthcare team and evaluating rehabilitation as a component of interprofessional care.


Multiple factors exist for consideration when implementing PT into an interprofessional outpatient HIV care setting. Results provide insight for integrating timely and appropriate access to evidence-informed rehabilitation for people living with chronic and episodic illness, such as HIV.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open