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How do they feel? Patients' perspectives on draping and dignity in a physiotherapy outpatient setting: A pilot study.

Manual Therapy 2016 December
BACKGROUND: Research to date has focused on dignity within the hospital rather than outpatient settings which is likely to raise different issues from the patients' perspective.

PURPOSE: To investigate patients' views relating to draping and dignity and their choice of dressing options in the physiotherapy outpatient setting.

METHOD: A custom-designed questionnaire was developed including feedback from a focus group of 10 individuals attending a physiotherapy outpatient clinic. The final version of the questionnaire comprised 14 items covering issues regarding privacy, draping, respect and communication. Patients attending outpatient physiotherapy for musculoskeletal treatment were invited to complete the questionnaire which was administered over a period of seven weeks.

RESULTS: Of the 31 respondents completing the questionnaire (n = 23 females, n = 8 males), the majority of males (87.5% n = 7) felt very confident removing their clothing whereas 26.1% of females (n = 6) reported feeling confident when asked to remove their clothing. Female respondents also considered the gender of their physiotherapist (87% n = 21) as well as physical privacy (73.9% n = 17) to be important factors related to patient dignity. All male respondents (100%) expressed a preference for exposing the bare back whereas the females expressed mixed dressing preferences. The preferred dressing option for the lower body for both males and female respondent was sport shorts (87.5% n = 7; 81.8% n = 18 respectively).

CONCLUSION: The patients' perspective of dignity and draping in a physiotherapy musculoskeletal settings is seen in terms of physical space, the provision of a range of draping options in conjunction with clear communication by their physiotherapist.

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