Original Research - Special Collection: Wheelchair-related topics for less-resourced environments

Wheelchair service provision education in academia

Karen H. Fung, Paula W. Rushton, Rachel Gartz, Mary Goldberg, Maria L. Toro, Nicky Seymour, Jonathan Pearlman
African Journal of Disability | Vol 6 | a340 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v6i0.340 | © 2017 Karen H. Fung, Paula W. Rushton, Rachel Gartz, Mary Goldberg, Maria L. Toro, Nicky Seymour, Jonathan Pearlman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 November 2016 | Published: 08 September 2017

About the author(s)

Karen H. Fung, School of Rehabilitation, Université de Montréal, Canada; Marie Enfant Rehabilitation Center, Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center, Canada
Paula W. Rushton, School of Rehabilitation, Université de Montréal, Canada; Marie Enfant Rehabilitation Center, Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center, Canada
Rachel Gartz, Rehabilitation Science & Technology, University of Pittsburgh, United States
Mary Goldberg, Rehabilitation Science & Technology, University of Pittsburgh, United States; Human Engineering Research Laboratories, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, United States
Maria L. Toro, Department of Physiotherapy, Universidad CES, Colombia
Nicky Seymour, Motivation Charitable Trust, South Africa
Jonathan Pearlman, Rehabilitation Science & Technology, University of Pittsburgh, United States; Human Engineering Research Laboratories, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, United States


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Abstract

Background: An estimated 70 million people with disabilities need wheelchairs. To address this global crisis, the World Health Organization (WHO) proposed an eight-step wheelchair service provision model to ensure service quality regardless of resource setting. The International Society of Wheelchair Professionals (ISWP) aims to facilitate the integration of the WHO eight-step model into professional rehabilitation programmes.
Objective: To develop an enhanced understanding of the current wheelchair service provision education provided in professional rehabilitation programmes worldwide.
Methods: In a cross-sectional design, an online survey was distributed to ISWP contacts of educational institutions. Quantitative responses were analysed through summary statistics and qualitative answers were analysed by content analyses. When relevant, educational institutions were stratified into resource settings.
Results: Seventy-two representatives of educational institutions in 21 countries completed the survey. Wheelchair content was taught in 79% of represented institutions, of which 75% of respondents reported using original course material, 10% of respondents used WHO Wheelchair Service Training Packages and 15% of respondents used other available resources. The majority of educational institutions teaching with their own wheelchair-related course material taught ≤ 20 hours. Fourteen of the 15 respondents without wheelchair education, expressed an interest in integrating wheelchair education into their academic curricula.
Conclusion: The majority of the educational institutions teach wheelchair education; however, there is great variability in what and how it is taught and evaluated. The results demonstrate the need for more in-depth investigation regarding the integration process of wheelchair education in educational institutions, with the ultimate goal of improving wheelchair service provision worldwide.

Keywords

wheelchair service; education; teaching methods; professional rehabilitation programs; worldwide

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