Peoples’ experience of shared decision making in musculoskeletal physiotherapy: a systematic review and thematic synthesis

Jessica Grenfell, Andrew Soundy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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(1) Shared decision making (SDM) has been advocated as a way of improving prudency in healthcare and has been linked to self-efficacy and empowerment of service users. The evaluation of its use in musculoskeletal (MSK) physiotherapy has been vague, but articles suggest that trust and communication are integral. (2) ENTREQ guidelines informed this systematic review and thematic synthesis. PRISMA recommendations steered a systematic literature search of AHMED, CINAHL, MEDLNE, EMBASE and Cochrane databases from inception to September 2021. COREQ was used for quality appraisal of articles alongside critical discussions. Analysis and synthesis included five stages: outlining study characteristics, coding of data, development of descriptive themes, development of analytical themes and integration and refinement. The review aim was to explore people’s experiences of SDM in MSK physiotherapy and to inform our understanding of the conditions needed for successful SDM. (3) Out of 1508 studies, 9 articles were included. Four main themes (trust, communication, decision preferences and decision ability) demonstrated that the majority of people want to participate in decision-making. As described in the capacity and capability model, three core conditions were needed to facilitate someone’s’ ability to participate. (4) People want to be involved in SDM in MSK physiotherapy. For successful SDM, physiotherapists should look to develop mutual trust, utilise two-way communication and share power.
Original languageEnglish
Article number12
JournalBehavioral Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jan 2022


  • communication
  • decision-making
  • musculoskeletal physiotherapy
  • patient experience
  • patient involvement
  • shared decision-making


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