PURPOSE: Physiotherapy in Croatia is a developing profession that is expected to have significant changes and adaptations to world tendencies in the future. For physiotherapists that is a professional challenge on which they'll have to answer by adopting new knowledge and skills. METHODS: In this article we used data from the State Institute for public health, the State Institute for statistics, Institute for unemployed people, World health organisation and Croatian association of physiotherapists. Collected data were distributed according to the level on which the physiotherapy was performed: outpatient, inpatient and patronage. We compared two approaches to predict needs for physiotherapists in Croatia: "need-based" and "demand-based". RESULTS: In Croatia there are 1888 employed physiotherapists. Considering the Croatia having 4,5 million inhabitants, there are 2500 inhabitants on one physiotherapist. 619 physiotherapist are employed on the outpatient level, 218 on inpatient and only 117 on patronage. Due to the war (1991/1995) the significant increase of needs and number of employed physiotherapist were observed. Newly employed physiotherapists in pre-war 1989 were 24 and in 1997 107. Only 40 physiotherapist a year finish the college.
CONCLUSION: Increase of the need for physiotherapists in Croatia is logical consequence for the country that was in the war for several years. WHO is predicting increasing of the number of the people with disabilities (25%). World tendencies will ask for the change in the responsibility of the physiotherapist in the process of physiotherapy and rehabilitation. Such changes will demand from the physiotherapist in Croatia to take over the role of responsible, independent clinician, educator, manager and administrator. The change of the organisational model will be necessary and it will lead to the increase of the needs for physiotherapists. Physiotherapists in Croatia need reorganisation of education and linkage with WCPT.