Minimum standards of clinical practice for physiotherapists working in critical care settings in Australia and New Zealand: A modified Delphi technique

<p><b><i>Objective:</i></b> Achieving competency in critical care in entry-level physiotherapy courses across Australia and New Zealand is not essential, and accredited training for qualified physiotherapists working in critical care units is lacking. As a result, practice standards and training may vary. The objective was to establish consensus-based minimum clinical practice standards for physiotherapists working in critical care settings in Australia and New Zealand. <b><i>Design:</i></b> A modified Delphi technique, which consisted of three rounds of questionnaires, was used to obtain consensus on items. <b><i>Setting:</i></b> Australian and New Zealand critical care settings. <b><i>Participants:</i></b> A panel (<i>n</i> = 61) was invited from a pool of eligible physiotherapists throughout Australia and New Zealand (<i>n</i> = 93). Eligibility criteria were defined <i>a-priori</i> on the basis of possession of expertise and experience in the practice and teaching of critical care physiotherapy clinical skills. <b><i>Main Outcome Measure:</i></b> Questionnaires were disseminated electronically (either via email, or SurveyMonkey<sup>®</sup>). Items were designated by participants as being ‘Essential/Unsure/Not Essential’. Consensus for inclusion was achieved when items were ranked ‘Essential’ by more than 70% of participants. <b><i>Results:</i></b> Fifty physiotherapists consented and participated in the initial Delphi round, of whom 45 (90%) completed all rounds. Consensus was reached on 199 (89%) items. The panel agreed that 132 (58%) items were ‘Essential’ items for inclusion in the final framework. <b><i>Conclusions:</i></b> This is the first study to develop a consensus framework of minimum standards of practice for physiotherapists working in critical care. The clinical utility of this framework now requires assessment.</p>