Exploring what patients with musculoskeletal conditions want from first point of contact health practitioners

Erwin, Jo, Chance-Larsen, Kenneth orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7619-4054, Backhouse, Michael and Woolf, Anthony D (2020) Exploring what patients with musculoskeletal conditions want from first point of contact health practitioners. Rheumatology Advances in Practice, 4 (1).

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1093/rap/rkz048


Objectives This research was conducted to support the development of the Musculoskeletal (MSK) Health Capabilities Framework to ensure the framework reflected patients’ priorities. The aim of this study was to explore what patients with MSK problems want from their initial consultation with a first contact health practitioner and from the patient perspective what characterises a good first contact health practitioner. Methods Focus groups were held in four locations across England. Sixteen participants with a self-declared MSK condition aged 19 to 75 took part (11 female, five male). Participants discussed the questions they want answered when first going to see a health professional about a MSK problem and how they would describe a good first contact health provider. Results Participants wanted answers to questions about: the nature of the problem, the management of the problem, where to get information and support to help themselves, what activities they can do and what the future holds. Values and behaviours they expect and value from first contact health practitioners include: good communication skills, appreciation of impact, a willingness to discuss alternative and complementary therapies, shared decision making and an awareness of own limitations and when to refer. Conclusion The MSK core capabilities framework for first contact health practitioners aims to ensure a person-centred approach in the first stages of managing any MSK problem a person may present with. The focus groups enabled the developers of the framework to achieve a greater understanding of patient priorities, expectations and needs and allowed the patient perspective to be included in this national framework.

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