OBJECTIVES To explore how and when chiropractors are involved in the care of patients younger than 18 years of age, and to examine chiropractors' beliefs about treating paediatric patients. DESIGN A cross-sectional survey of a random sample of 140 chiropractors practising in Alberta. Data were collected by means of a mailed questionnaire, which elicited practice information and chiropractors' beliefs, and included closed-and open-ended questions related to six vignettes of paediatric health problems. RESULTS Fifty-seven per cent of chiropractors responded to the questionnaire. All chiropractors indicated that they treat patients younger than 18 years of age. Nine per cent of respondents do not treat patients younger than age two years, and 4% do not treat patients from ages six to 11 years. On average, 13% of chiropractors' total patient load over the month preceding the completion of the questionnaires consisted of patients younger than the age of 18 years. With increasing age, patients are more likely to present with musculoskeletal problems (23% of patients younger than age two years, 84% of those aged 14 to 17 years). Chiropractors reported that they provided musculoskeletal treatment regardless of the cause of the problem. A high percentage of chiropractors refer to physicians and reported that they would like to provide concomitant care with physicians. CONCLUSION The present study has shown that chiropractors do treat children and that their opinions about this practice vary by specific condition. In addition, substantial percentages of chiropractors indicated that they would like to work with physicians in treating patients with nonmusculoskeletal conditions.
C. Durant, M. Verhoef, P. Conway
Paediatrics & child health