Prevalence and profile of Australian osteopaths treating older people

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Steel, A, Vaughan, B, Orrock, P, Wenbo, P, Fleischmann, M, Grace, S, Engel, R, Sibbritt, D & Adams, J 2019, 'Prevalence and profile of Australian osteopaths treating older people', Complementary therapies in Medicine, vol. 43, pp. 125-130.

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Objectives:To explore the characteristics of the Australian osteopathy workforce who participate in the man-agement of older patients with musculoskeletal complaints.
Design:Secondary analysis of a cross-sectional survey of osteopaths.Setting:The Osteopathy Research and Innovation Network (ORION), an Australian practice-based researchnetwork.Main outcome measures:The demographic, practice and treatment characteristics of osteopaths who identify as‘always’or‘often’treating patients aged 65 years or over.
Results:Over half (58%) of total participants (n = 992) indicated often treating older people and this was as-sociated with referral patterns with other health professionals and a non-urban practice location. Osteopathsproviding care to older people were more likely to discuss diet/nutrition and medications, and provide paincounselling. Osteopaths who treated older adults were more likely to treat shoulder musculoskeletal disorders,degenerative spine disorders, chronic or persistent pain, and tendinopathies.
Conclusions:A substantial proportion of Australian osteopaths treat older adults frequently. The potential valueand impact of osteopathy in managing the health needs of an ageing population warrants close examination fromboth researchers and policy makers.

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