Pediatric Patients in Swiss Chiropractic Clinics:
A Questionnaire Survey
SOURCE: J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2017 (Oct 24) [Epub]
Mette Hobaek Siegenthaler, DC, MSc
Swiss Academy for Chiropractic,
OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to investigate practice characteristics of chiropractors who treat pediatric patients in Swiss chiropractic clinics.
METHODS: An online survey questionnaire was created and tested for face and content validity. Participation by Swiss chiropractors was voluntary and anonymous and completed November to December 2015. The data were analyzed using SPSS. The analysis consisted of descriptive statistics.
RESULTS: The sample consisted of 144 chiropractors, which represented a 53% response rate, and 98% of the responding practitioners treated patients younger than age 18. The proportion of pediatric patients treated was 8.7%. The most common pediatric age groups were schoolchildren and adolescents, with infants younger than 6 months being the third most common. Musculoskeletal complaints were the most common conditions treated in all age groups. In children younger than 2 years old, nonmusculoskeletal conditions were well represented. Prophylactic examination was common among children 6 years and younger.
A total of 61% of responding chiropractors received direct referrals from medical doctors and 56% received direct referrals from pediatricians. The most common age groups for referrals from pediatricians were schoolchildren and adolescents. Only 15% of the chiropractors wrote reports about their pediatric patients to their pediatrician often or regularly; 90% of the responding chiropractors stated they rarely or never refer to a pediatric specialist, and 80% of the chiropractors have never or have rarely been invited to attend medical congresses or to teach the pediatric health care community about chiropractic care for children.
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CONCLUSION: The majority of chiropractors in Switzerland treat pediatric patients, most commonly schoolchildren and adolescents for musculoskeletal disorders.
KEYWORDS: Chiropractic; Patients; Pediatrics; Practice; Questionnaire
From the FULL TEXT Article:
Surveys on chiropractic pediatric care have been undertaken in some countries to map standards and needs in the profession, with most originating from North America and Europe. [1–6] In Switzerland, however, no such survey on chiropractic pediatrics has been previously conducted. In 2009, a Swiss job analysis survey of chiropractors was conducted to identify specific characteristics of chiropractic practice to ensure that relevant key competencies in practice were covered in the undergraduate and postgraduate chiropractic program that started at the University of Zürich in 2008.  A key finding of this Swiss survey was that 91% of responding chiropractic practitioners reported treating patients between the ages of 6 and 17, and 78% reported treating children younger than 5 years of age.
Furthermore, 22% of Swiss chiropractors reported receiving direct referrals from pediatricians
“sometimes” (1–3 patients per month),
“often” (1–2 per week), or
“routinely” (>2 per week).
These numbers are higher than those reported in surveys conducted in other countries,  and they are thus of great interest to the profession and suggest that a further investigation into pediatric patients in Swiss chiropractic clinics is needed.
Switzerland is in a unique position within the international chiropractic profession because it is the only country where chiropractic is one of the 5 government-recognized medical professions (medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, pharmacology, and chiropractic). Furthermore, Switzerland has the first chiropractic program that is part of a faculty of medicine.  With the findings from the Swiss job analysis together with the unique status of Swiss chiropractors, the chiropractic profession in Switzerland could try to take a more active role in monitoring musculoskeletal development in children and take a more active part in pediatric research.
To do so, a detailed investigation into the pediatric patients in Swiss chiropractic clinics was needed. The survey of the pediatric patients in Swiss chiropractic clinics that is presented in this paper is based on that of Humphreys et al,  and its rationale was to consider pediatric patients in Swiss chiropractic clinics in greater detail.
Such investigations help to map potential improvements to chiropractic undergraduate, postgraduate, and continuing education; to identify possible implications for future chiropractic research; to investigate the professional relationship between chiropractors and other pediatric health care providers; and to better understand interdisciplinary relations. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate practice characteristics of chiropractors who treat pediatric patients in Swiss chiropractic clinics.