Context: As physiotherapy (PT) is a young profession in Nepal, there is a dearth of insight into the common practices of physiotherapists in critical care.
Aims: To identify the availability of PT services in Intensive Care Units (ICUs) and articulate the common practices by physiotherapists in ICUs of Nepal.
Settings and Design: All tertiary care hospitals across Nepal with ICU facility via an exploratory cross-sectional survey.
Subjects and Methods: An existing questionnaire was distributed to all the physiotherapists currently working in ICUs of Nepal with 2 years of experience. The survey was sent via E-mail or given in person to 86 physiotherapists.
Statistical Analysis Used: Descriptive and inferential statistics according to nature of data.
Results: The response rate was 60% (n = 52). In the majority of hospitals (68%), PT service was provided only after a physician consultation, and few hospitals (13%) had established hospital criteria for PT in ICUs. Private hospitals (57.1%) were providing PT service in weekends compared to government hospitals (32.1%) (P = 0.17). The likelihood of routine PT involvement varied significantly with the clinical scenarios (highest 71.2% status cerebrovascular accident, lowest 3.8% myocardial infarction, P < 0.001). The most preferred PT treatment was chest PT (53.8%) and positioning (21.2%) while least preferred was therapeutic exercise (3.8%) irrespective of clinical scenarios.
Conclusions: There is a lack of regular PT service during weekends in ICUs of Nepal. Most of the cases are treated by physiotherapists only after physician's referral. The preferred intervention seems to be limited only to chest PT and physiotherapists are not practicing therapeutic exercise and functional mobility training to a great extent.
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