Abstract: Abstract Objective The aim of this study was to explore how interventions were provided to meet the needs of rural/remote residents who have had a traumatic hand injury, including the coordination of services between rural/remote and metro/regional therapists. Barriers to providing services, use of technology and professional support provided to therapists in rural/remote areas were also explored. Design Cross-sectional survey. Setting Metropolitan/regional and rural/remote public health facilities in Australia. Participants Occupational therapists and physiotherapists who provide hand therapy to rural/remote patients. Main outcome measure Quantitative and qualitative questionnaire responses analysed with descriptive statistics and inductive analysis. Results There were 64 respondents out of a possible 185. Over half of rural/remote respondents provided initial splinting and exercise prescriptions, and over 85% reported that they continued with exercise protocols. Videoconferencing technology for patient intervention and clinical review was used by 39.1% respondents. Barriers to providing services in rural/remote locations included transport, travelling time, limited staff, and lack of expert knowledge in hand injuries or rural/remote health care. Four major themes emerged from the open-ended questions: working relationships, patient-centred care, staff development and education, and rural and remote practice. Conclusion The use of technology across Australia to support rural/remote patient intervention requires attention to achieve equity and ease of use. Flexible and realistic goals and interventions should be considered when working with rural/remote patients. A shared care approach between metropolitan/regional and rural/remote therapists can improve understanding of rural/remote issues and provide support to therapists. Further research is recommended to determine the suitability of this approach when providing hand therapy to rural/remote residents.
Kingston, Gail A., Williams, Gary, Judd, Jenni, Gray, Marion A., 2015, Hand therapy services for rural and remote residents: Results of a survey of Australian occupational therapists and physiotherapists, Volume:23, Journal Article, viewed 05 December 2023, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=39489.