Are we meeting the wants and needs of our clients and their relatives? A survey of the Royal Rehab Brain Injury Unit physiotherapy service

Dr Joan Leung1, Mrs Sarah Fereday1, Ms Katarina Stroud1

1Royal Rehab, Ryde, Australia



  1. Determine clients’ and their relatives’ level of satisfaction with the physiotherapy service.
  2. Determine what factors influence satisfaction.
  3. Determine expectations of physiotherapy.
  4. Explore the preferred physiotherapy model of delivery.
  5. Determine willingness of clients to participate in self practice.


A cross-sectional survey of clients, their relatives and treating physiotherapists was conducted over an 18 month period and included:

  1. All clients who had adequate cognitive ability and communication skills.
  2. A relative of each client, who visited often during the weekdays or had been involved in some physiotherapy sessions.
  3. Treating physiotherapists who were blinded to the responses of the clients and relatives.

Data were analysed using descriptive statistics.


70% of clients and 85% of relatives were ‘highly satisfied’ with the physiotherapy service.They were most satisfied with the quality of the treatment, environment and interaction with physiotherapy staff, areas of lower satisfaction were follow up arrangements after discharge and amount of therapy.¬† General comments from clients and relatives were positive.

One third of clients and relatives indicated they did not know what to expect from physiotherapy on admission.

70% of clients preferred individual sessions, 30% preferred a combination of group and individual therapy.

More clients preferred physiotherapy 5 days a week than 7 days a week.

A wide range of barriers¬† to self practice and relatives’ involvement were identified.


This survey provides specific feedback from consumers of a physiotherapy service in a Brain Injury Unit which will be of interest to other similar services and could be used to inform a survey for other disciplines.