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Ergonomic principles in patient handling: Knowledge and practice of physiotherapists in Nigeria.

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BACKGROUND:

Physiotherapists are advocates of workplace health and safety. Despite the high prevalence of work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs), there is limited knowledge of ergonomic principles have been successfully applied in the workplace by Nigerian physiotherapists.

OBJECTIVES:

This study evaluates the knowledge and practice of ergonomic principles in patient handling among physiotherapists in Nigeria.

METHOD:

A cross-sectional survey design was used to sample 360 physiotherapists practicing in Nigeria. Participants responded to a three-part structured questionnaire that had a reliability coefficient of 0.77. Data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and Chi-Square.

RESULTS:

The majority (95.9% ) of the participants had good knowledge of the ergonomic principles in patient handling while only 48.6% reported practicing them. Poor practice was mainly due to a lack of patient handling equipment. There was no significant association between knowledge and practice of ergonomic principles among study participants. Specific areas of physiotherapy practice showed a significant association with ergonomic knowledge and practice. Years of physiotherapy practice and highest educational qualifications showed a significant association with the levels of practice and knowledge respectively.

CONCLUSION:

Physiotherapists in Nigeria reported a good level of knowledge of ergonomic principles, but a poor practice level. Perhaps this non-adherence contributed to the high prevalence of WMSDs among physiotherapists in Nigeria.

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