Research - Briefing paper
Promoting research and research careers within physiotherapy in Europe – Briefing paperPURPOSE
The specific purposes of the document are threefold:
- To promote and reach a common awareness in the European countries of the importance of conducting research in physiotherapy, the strong links between high quality physiotherapy research, education and clinical practice and about the current state of the physiotherapy evidence base in the international arena. This is in line with the WCPT’s policy statement of research and on evidence based practice (see References).
- To set out a position of belief on this topic and stimulate a creative climate and culture across Europe favouring development in physiotherapy research.
- To present recommendations regarding the role of the ER-WCPT and the Member Organisations in promoting and supporting research and research careers within physiotherapy.
Physiotherapy is both an academic and a vocational discipline. The WCPT has adopted the ”Description of Physical Therapy” (1999, last revised 2011) to have a common international platform for the profession. WCPTs description states that physiotherapy should be based on specific knowledge, academic education and autonomous professional responsibility aimed at the best possible service for the individual and society. Physiotherapists work with people to identify and maximise their ability to move and function Physiotherapy provides services to individuals and populations to develop, maintain, restore and enhance health and prevent disease throughout the lifespan. This includes providing services in circumstances where movement and function are threatened by ageing, injury, disease or environmental factors. Functional movement is central to what it means to be healthy. Physiotherapy plays a key role in enabling people to maximise their quality of life and movement potential within the spheres of promotion, prevention, treatment/intervention, habilitation and rehabilitation. This encompasses physical, psychological, emotional, and social well being. Physiotherapy involves the interaction between physiotherapist, patients/clients, other health professionals, families, care givers, and communities in a process where movement potential is assessed and goals are agreed upon, using knowledge and skills unique to physiotherapists (WCPT 2011). The foundation for this process should rest on evidence based physiotherapy/evidence based practice (EBPT), which constitutes the combined result of research, clinical experience and the opinion of the patient/client.