Electrophysical agents (EPAs) are a core part of physiotherapy practice and entry level education. With the increase in the number of EPAs over time, their availability and use in contemporary physiotherapy practice is an important consideration when determining entry level curricula. Thus, the aim of the study was to ascertain the current availability and usage of EPAs in Australian physiotherapy practice. A purpose-designed questionnaire was mailed to all registered physiotherapists in Australia. A response rate of 27% was obtained (n=3,538). Nonresponder analyses indicated that the results were representative of the total population of Australian physiotherapists. Over 70% of respondents had access to ultrasound, cold packs/ice, heat packs, electrical stimulation for sensory stimulation, and interferential therapy. Two main groups of EPAs were used relatively frequently. The first group was used daily or monthly by 60% of respondents (ultrasound, hot packs, and cold packs/ice), and a second group (electromyographic and pressure biofeedback, interferential therapy, and electrical stimulation for sensory stimulation) was used on a daily or monthly basis by between 30% and 45% of the sample. A group of EPAs, including ultraviolet light, microwave, and shortwave diathermy, was not used by over 90% of the sample. The study has provided contemporary national data on EPA availability and use in Australia.
Physiotherapy Theory and Practice: An International Journal of Physiotherapy Vol. 25, Issue 4, p. 279-296