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Title: Safety of medical device users : a study of physiotherapists' practices, procedures and risk perception
Author: Shah, Syed Ghulam Sarwar
ISNI:       0000 0004 2717 828X
Awarding Body: Brunel University
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2011
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Aims: To study practices and procedures with respect to electrotherapy in physiotherapy departments and to study physiotherapists’ perception of health risk, health consequences and protection of health from different risks including electromagnetic field emissions from electrotherapy devices. Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in three phases from June 2002 to December 2003. The first phase was an audit of the practices and procedures regarding electrotherapy in National Health Service physiotherapy departments (N = 46 including 7 departments in pilot study) located in 12 counties in the southeast and southwest of England including Greater London. The second phase comprised one observational visit to each of the same physiotherapy departments to characterise their occupational environment. The third phase was a questionnaire survey of 584 physiotherapists working in these departments. Variables concerned perception of health risk, health consequences and protection of health associated with different risk factors. Results: In the first two phases, the recruitment rate of the departments was 80.7% (46 out of 57) and response rate of those recruited was 100% (n=46). The response rate for the last phase of the study was 66.8% (390 out of 584). Results of the practices and procedures audit show that ultrasound was the most common form of electrotherapy while microwave diathermy was neither available nor used in these departments. Pulsed shortwave diathermy was used 4-5 days per week while continuous shortwave diathermy was used rarely. Electrotherapy was provided to up to 50% of patients per week in the departments. The observational visits to the departments revealed that there were metallic objects within close proximity of diathermy equipment and wooden treatment couches for treatment with PSWD and CSWD were rare. The risk perception survey showed that physiotherapists generally perceived a moderate health risk and health consequences (harm) from exposure to EMF emissions from electrotherapy devices. Protection from EMFs in physiotherapy departments was generally perceived as ‘usually’ possible. Conclusions: Physiotherapy departments report safe electrotherapy practices. Use of diathermy devices that use RF EMFs is declining. The key predictors of physiotherapists’ perception of health risk were perception of health consequences and vice versa. Gender was a significant predictor of the perception of health risks and health consequences. The main predictor of perception of protection against risk was the knowledge of environmental and health issues. Latent dimensions of perceptions of health risk, health consequences and protection from risk were identified and confirmed and their predictors were determined.
Supervisor: Farrow, A. ; Robinson, I. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Occupational exposure ; Electrotherapy devices ; Health risk perception ; Structural equation modelling ; Radiofrequency electromagnetic fields