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A comparison of the demographic and clinical characteristics of a chiropractic teaching clinic and private practice

Ricci, Melinda (2019) A comparison of the demographic and clinical characteristics of a chiropractic teaching clinic and private practice. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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Chiropractic programs are expected to provide teaching clinics in order for their graduates to attain the required competencies, so they can practice safely and effectively. Regulators place an expectation that the patients that students encounter in these clinics should be of sufficient variety to prepare them for private practice. So, it is important the chiropractic programs monitor the patient case-mix so they show that they are meeting this requirement. To this end this study sought to review the Murdoch University Chiropractic Clinic (MUCC) patient database and report on the demographic and clinical characteristics.

Ethic was obtained from Murdoch University (#). In September of 2017 one in five students de-identified complete new patients records who attended MUCC from the preceding 12 months were extracted. The data included was age, gender, employment status, education level, region, duration, severity and disability of complaint along with co-morbidities were recorded onto a spreadsheet. Data was then discussed in relation to previous studies of chiropractic patient case-mix in Australian and international private practice and teaching clinics.

The most common type of patient seen at MUCC was of younger age, low levels of employment, pain severity and disability and chronicity suggesting this fits the profile of a typical university student. The other commonly occurring profile was suggestive of an age group that could be described as family i.e. somewhat older with mild levels of persistent pain and disability. Under-represented subpopulations included the very young, the elderly and those with acute, severe and / high levels of disability.

While the case-mix profile of this MUCC sample was broadly similar to that of private practice, some differences were noted that may have implications for the adequate preparation of students for private practice. The results are comparable to teaching clinics internationally which suggests the differences identified in this study are somewhat characteristic of teaching clinic populations in general.

It remains unknown if the teaching clinic case-mix is appropriate and adequate to prepare graduates for the under-represented subpopulation groups.

A series of recommendations were made in order to address the findings of this study.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Psychology, Counselling, Exercise Science and Chiropractic
United Nations SDGs: Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being
Supervisor(s): Innes, Stanley and Losco, Barrett
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