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A proposed framework for point of care lung ultrasound by respiratory physiotherapists: scope of practice, education and governance

Smith, Mike ORCID:, Hayward, Simon and Innes, Sue 2022. A proposed framework for point of care lung ultrasound by respiratory physiotherapists: scope of practice, education and governance. The Ultrasound Journal 14 (1) , 24. 10.1186/s13089-022-00266-6

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Abstract: Background: Point of care ultrasound (PoCUS) has the potential to provide a step change in the management of patients across a range of healthcare settings. Increasingly, healthcare practitioners who are not medical doctors are incorporating PoCUS into their clinical practice. However, the professional, educational and regulatory environment in which this occurs is poorly developed, leaving clinicians, managers and patients at risk. Main body: Drawing upon existing medical and non-medical literature, the authors present a proposed framework for the use of PoCUS. Throughout, mechanisms for applying the principles to other professionals and healthcare settings are signposted. Application of the framework is illustrated via one such group of healthcare practitioners and in a particular healthcare setting: respiratory physiotherapists in the UK. In defining the point of care LUS scope of practice we detail what structures are imaged, differentials reported upon and clinical decisions informed by their imaging. This is used to outline the educational and competency requirements for respiratory physiotherapists to safely and effectively use the modality. Together, these are aligned with the regulatory (professional, legal and insurance) arrangements for this professional group in the UK. In so doing, a comprehensive approach for respiratory physiotherapists to consolidate and expand their use of point of care LUS is presented. This provides clarity for clinicians as to the boundaries of their practice and how to train in the modality; it supports educators with the design of courses and alignment of competency assessments; it supports managers with the staffing of existing and new care pathways. Ultimately it provides greater accessibility for patients to safe and effective point of care lung ultrasound. For clinicians who are not respiratory physiotherapists and/or are not based in the UK, the framework can be adapted to other professional groups using point of care LUS as well as other point of care ultrasound (PoCUS) applications, thereby providing a comprehensive and sustainable foundation for PoCUS consolidation and expansion. Conclusion: This paper presents a comprehensive framework to support the use of point of care LUS by respiratory physiotherapists in the UK. Mechanisms to adapt the model to support a wide range of other PoCUS users are outlined.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Additional Information: License information from Publisher: LICENSE 1: URL:, Type: open-access
Publisher: Springer International Publishing
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 17 June 2022
Date of Acceptance: 4 April 2022
Last Modified: 20 May 2023 12:17

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