The prevalence of violence encountered by community physiotherapists in Ireland.
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The Health and Safety Authority of Ireland has recognised violence towards health workers as an occupational hazard. However no research examining the issue of violence against physiotherapists in Ireland exists. The aim of this study was to establish the prevalence of violence encountered by community physiotherapists in Ireland and to identify any influential factors.
A descriptive cross-sectional questionnaire was distributed to all 103 members of the Chartered Physiotherapists in Community Care (CPCC) group. Topic sections were: personal details and area of work, incidents of violence, reporting of incidents, workplace provisions and referrals.
The majority of respondents (94%) reported that they felt safe in their job as a community physiotherapist. However 73% (n=51) had experience of violent incidents whilst working in the community. All of these physiotherapists experienced verbal aggression and ten had also experienced physical assault. The fact that the physiotherapist was seen as a representative of the health system was the most common reason given for the aggression. Of the 51 physiotherapists who had experienced any incident of violence, only 17 (33%) had reported it to a member of staff. Only 24 physiotherapists (34%) had received specific training or education on how to deal with violent work situations.