On February 13th 2012 Allan J Pieterse defended his thesis called “Referral and indication for occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech-language therapy for persons with neuromuscular disorders” at the Radboud University Nijmegen.
The goal of the study by Allan Pieterse was to achieve transparency and uniformity of referral and indication for occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech-language therapy. For this reason he developed a questionnaire, named PLAN ( Percieved Limitations in Activities and Needs). PLAN was clinematrically developed and tested. PLAN is a two step decision support tool to assist health professionals and patients in the decision making on referral and indication. PLAN was developed through a study that evaluated a larger questionnaire on 208 patients with varied neuromuscular disorders. The definitive PLAN consists of 18 questions on different subscales: walking and moving around and lifting and carrying (8 questions), transferring (5 questions), speech/ chewing/ swallowing (3 questions), and hand-use (2 questions). PLAN was tested on a group of 102 patients with varied neuromuscular disorders that were also seen once by an occupational therapist, physical therapist, and speech-language therapist. The results of the use of PLAN improved the appropriate referral to therapists compared to regular referral by the neurologist. Thus PLAN can be a useful tool to get adequate referral t o the several therapist and transparency for the patient.
Allan J Pieterse is physical therapist, has large expertise in neuromuscular patients, and is now studying to become a physical assistant for the out patients clinic of the department of Rehabilitation of the Radboud University Nijmegen – Medical Centre
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