Physiotherapy and the Provision of Holistic Care: An Exploratory Scoping Review


Purpose: Holistic care is an increasingly important focus among allied health professionals as part of patient-centred care. The aim of this project is to explore the provision of holistic care for allied health professionals practicing in the field of physiotherapy. Method: An exploratory scoping review was systematically conducted in order to find relevant research literature, using key search terms related to the topic of physiotherapy and the provision of holistic care. Results: A total of 2,795 articles were found through the search strategy, however only 15 papers (n=15) were considered to be relevant to the topic. Conclusion: There was an abundant amount of articles covering holistic care and the role of the physiotherapist however upon further investigation, the term ‘holistic care’ as utilised by physiotherapists did not necessarily cover all elements of holistic care (e.g., psychological, social, spiritual, etc.). Indeed spirituality, for example, was found to be rarely considered in physical therapy literature. Rather the link between improved physical and mental health outcomes through physical therapy and/or rehabilitation exercise narrowly confined the physiotherapists understanding of ‘holistic care’. An important consideration arising from this review is the importance of ensuring that the individuality and diverse needs of the client are not lost during physical rehabilitation so as to ensure a truly holistic care that is person-centred.