A Middle-Range Theory to Guide the Education, Research and Clinical Practice of Physical Therapists in the Treatment of Patients Undergoing Liver Transplantation

Research Category: Health Sciences
Presenter: Daniel Kim
Additional Authors: Richard Long
PI: Daniel Kim, Susan Ventura

The medical care of people who receive life-saving liver transplants has been historically managed by gastroenterologists, transplant surgeons, and the interdisciplinary team members who have long been affiliated with them. Advances in surgical techniques and immunosuppressant medications have resulted in better prognoses, with the life expectancy now approaching near normal levels. Unfortunately, the health-related quality of life of transplant recipients lags behind that of healthy individuals of the same age, in spite of their efforts to improve health and wellness. The reason for this phenomenon is poorly understood and has not yet been fully explored. Fortunately, physical therapists are uniquely qualified to assess and address physical, psychosocial and environmental factors that impede participation in desired life roles. This study is designed to establish a framework to demonstrate important and valuable benefits that physical therapists can provide to liver transplant recipients and their caregivers throughout the continuum of care. Qualitative, grounded theory methodology is used to understand the phenomenon from the perspectives of the people involved in it. Data from the literature, health professionals, and liver transplant recipients will be examined, integrated, and reduced to form a framework to improve understanding of the phenomenon and establish solutions for clinical practice, research, and education.