Sarah Wojkowski, Jenna Smith, Julie Richardson, Stephen Birch, Michael Boyle


To investigate need and unmet need for community-based physiotherapy services (CBPTS) for Canadian adults. The scoping review was completed between May-September 2015. The methodology proposed by Arksey and O’Malley and the recommendations to advance scoping studies by Levac et al. were followed. The definitions of normative, felt, comparative, and expressed need were used to categorize need and the dimensions of availability, affordability, and acceptability was used to categorize unmet need. Two reviewers (SW, JS) independently reviewed 2265 abstracts and selected 191 articles for full-text review. Data extraction and thematic analyses were completed on 24 articles. Comparative need and service availabilities were the most frequent type and reason identified for need and unmet need respectively. Individuals from rural communities and persons living with chronic conditions more frequently identified barriers to accessing CBPTS. Unmet need for CBPTS exists in Canada. Physiotherapists must consider innovative service delivery models in order to maximize population health outcomes and minimize stress on health care systems like the Canadian population ages.


Unmet need, Access, Service delivery, Health care equity, Scoping review

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