A qualitative study of clinical reasoning in physiotherapy with preterm infants and their parents: Action and interaction
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionPhysiotherapy Theory and Practice. 2018, 34 (9), 692-704. 10.1080/09593985.2017.1423524
Background: Physiotherapists (PTs) in primary health care provide services to preterm infants and their parents after hospital discharge. The service should be collaborative and individualized to meet the family’s needs. In this study, we analyze pediatric PTs’ collaborative work in the clinical setting and investigate the PTs’ emerging clinical reasoning (CR) in interaction with the infant and parent(s). Methods: The study is based on observations of 20 physical therapy sessions and 20 interviews with PTs. We performed a systematic content analysis informed by enactive theory regarding the interactions and co-creation of meaning. Results and Discussion: CR emerged in reciprocity with the PTs’ interaction with the infant and parent(s). Based on the sensitivity to the infant’s motor abilities and signs of engagement as well as the parents’ need of support and education, the PTs individualized and reasoned about their therapeutic approach. This interactional CR was vulnerable: infant disengagement, parent expectations, and PT preoccupations could obfuscate interactions and hamper CR. Conclusion: Through mutuality and engagement with the infant and parent(s), the PTs allow the autonomy of interaction to emerge and shape the translation of CR into successful therapeutic actions and learning together with the infant and parent(s).