Abstract: BACKGROUND: Early rehabilitation has been identified as key to improving physical function and aiding in long-term recovery in critically ill patients. Surveys of physiotherapy practice have highlighted variations and issues with the provision of rehabilitation services in this patient population. However, there have been no qualitative studies exploring physiotherapist's views of implementing early rehabilitation in critically ill patients. AIM: To explore physiotherapist's understanding and experiences of early rehabilitation in critically ill patients. METHODS: A qualitative exploratory design using semi-structured interviews with six physiotherapists from one NHS hospital trust. RESULTS: Thematic content analysis identified how participants conceptualised early rehabilitation in two broad themes of adherence and collaborative working. CONCLUSIONS: Physiotherapists identified that adherence is an issue in clinical practice and collaborative working is integral to patient care. Awareness of the barriers to adherence and collaborative working and strategies that can be used to overcome them is central to improving rehabilitation in critically ill patients.
Keywords: Physiotherapists, early rehabilitation, critical illness, adherence, collaborative working