Is promoting healthy living part of your role?

Published: 14 February 2017 Ezine

Diagnostic and therapeutic radiographers show significant differences in conversations with patients about public health issues.

Whilst most radiographers say it is a core component of their role, they admit they do not frequently hold conversations with service users about living more healthily.

According to research by Sheffield Hallam University and Public Health England, diagnostic practitioners most frequently discuss falls prevention and pain management, with 10 per cent of respondents stating that they always or usually hold conversations with patients on these topics. 

Almost two-thirds said that they never discuss physical activity and stopping smoking.

63 per cent of therapeutic radiographers highlight smoking cessation with patients and half talk about the benefits of exercise. 31 per cent said that they use screening tools to assess pain management and almost two-thirds said that they always or usually provide brief interventions. 

Both diagnostic and therapeutic participants report that time is a limitation on holding healthier living conversations and diagnostic practitioners identified a lack of knowledge/expertise in public health issues. In addition, some said that the delivery of health messages and brief interventions is not part of their role. 

Therapeutic radiographers identified lack of knowledge of local services and limited knowledge/expertise as the most significant limitations.

The survey was held across the allied health professions and includes responses from 23 therapeutic and 110 diagnostic radiographers. Topics which participants were asked if they spoke to patients about were mental health, smoking cessation, physical activity, alcohol, diet/nutrition, social isolation/loneliness, falls prevention, developmental delay in children, domestic violence, environmental issues/housing, addiction/substance abuse, weight management, and managing pain.

A full analysis of the findings will be published in the Radiography journal.  

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