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Title: Investigation of practices and procedures in the use of therapeutic diathermy: A study from the physiotherapists' health and safety perspective
Authors: Shah, SGS
Farrow, A
Issue Date: 2007
Publisher: Wiley
Citation: Physiotherapy Research International. 12(4): 228-241
Abstract: Background and Purpose. The safe use of therapeutic diathermy requires practices and procedures that ensure compliance to professional guidelines and clinical evidence. Inappropriate use may expose physiotherapists and other people in the vicinity of operating diathermy devices to stray radiofrequency electromagnetic fields, which can be a source of risk and may lead to adverse health effects. The aim of the present study was to investigate practices and procedures for therapeutic diathermy from a health and safety perspective. Method. A cross-sectional research design was used, this included a postal survey using a self-administered questionnaire and semi-structured observational visits to 46 physiotherapy departments in National Health Service (NHS) hospitals located in the south-east and south-west of England, including Greater London. Results. Microwave diathermy was not available in the departments surveyed. Pulsed shortwave diathermy was available and was used more commonly than continuous shortwave diathermy. There were metallic objects in treatment cubicles used for pulsed shortwave diathermy and continuous shortwave diathermy. Shortwave diathermy devices created electromagnetic interference with a variety of electrical and medical devices. Physiotherapists reported that they did not stay in the treatment cubicle during the entire period of electrotherapy with pulsed shortwave diathermy or continous shortwave diathermy; pregnant physiotherapists reported that they did not use these devices. Electrotherapy with pulsed shortwave diathermy and continuous shortwave diathermy was not always administered on a wooden couch or chair. Electrotherapy was highest in those departments with the fewest physiotherapists. Conclusions. Departments report good practices and procedures regarding the use of therapeutic diathermy devices. However, field observations of practices and procedures, and the working environment, have identified issues with a potential to create health and safety problems, and these should be addressed. Copyright (c) 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Appears in Collections:Community Health and Public Health
Dept of Clinical Sciences Research Papers

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