A qualitative study in neurological physiotherapy and hope: Beyond physical improvement

Andrew Soundy, B Smith, M Butler, CM Lowe, D Helen, CH Winward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)


Drawing on data from a qualitative study of a small group of physiotherapists, this article explores the meaning of hope in neurological physiotherapy practice. Nine female physiotherapists (43.2 +/- 8.5 years) each took part in a one-off semistructured interview. The most common kinds of hope used and offered by the physiotherapists in the process of working with people with neurological disease were evident in five themes. These are termed 1) Realistic Hope, 2) False Hope, 3) Accepting Hope and No Need to Hope, 4) Hope in Faith, and 5) No Hope. Neurological experience with patients in physiotherapy provides stories that relate to hope and this informs the way they understand it. It is important that when considering therapeutic outcome, the physiotherapists recognised the need for having a realistic hope and the danger of having a false hope. However, both were balanced with the need to accept that the unknown was possible and not limiting this or losing their dream. Where hope in relation to recovery was not possible, hope in other areas of life was emphasised. The implications of this dynamic process of working with different kinds of hope in relation to people with neurological disease are considered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-88
Number of pages10
JournalPhysiotherapy Theory and Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2010


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