C. Whalen Smith1, S. Havercamp2, W. Barnhart3, A. Robinson2
1Ohio Colleges of Medicine Government Resource Center, Batavia, United States, 2The Ohio State University, Nisonger Center, Columbus, United States, 3Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, United States

Background: There are more than one billion people with disabilities (PWD) worldwide and PWD comprise the largest underserved group in America (26% of Americans).  PWD experience worse health outcomes and decreased access to competent healthcare than people without disabilities resulting from organizational, physical, communication, and attitudinal barriers. Disability is often misunderstood and under-recognized as an underserved subpopulation. Historically, disability has been described as an adverse health outcome rather than a demographic identity. More accurately, PWD are a community of individuals who share a unique culture and collective lived experiences. Currently, many healthcare professionals are unprepared to meet the needs of PWD based on communication/attitudinal barriers and misconceptions about disability. Therefore, standardized training is needed to produce a more competent healthcare workforce.

Purpose: In this presentation, we present the rigorous consensus-building process and the Core Competencies on Disability for Health Care Education. Physiotherapy educators and clinicians will learn to apply the core disability competencies in physiotherapy education and practice.

Methods: In collaboration with the Alliance on Disability in Health Care Education, the Ohio Disability and Health Program (ODHP) established a Competency Development Committee comprised of PWD, family members of PWD, disability advocates, disability and health professionals, and interdisciplinary health educators. This committee contributed to a rigorous consensus-building methodology, providing feedback on a set of disability competencies over several waves, to shape and establish national consensus on what healthcare providers need to know about disability. ODHP has started to disseminate and embed the Core Competencies on Disability for Health Care Education in health professional training programs regionally and nationally.

Results: Consensus was established with disability experts on a set of six disability competencies with 49 sub-competencies and 10 principles/values that address the range of knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary for healthcare providers to competently care for PWD. We established agreement these competencies are important and should be integrated into learning standards. To date, the Core Competencies on Disability for Health Care Education have been endorsed by 24 key disability and health professional organizations in the U.S. Four health professional training programs in Ohio have adopted all six competencies in their curricula. The American Physical Therapy Association is currently partnering with ODHP to create continuing educational content and resources for physiotherapy faculty and clinicians to increase disability competent care among physiotherapists across the U.S.

Conclusion(s): Consensus on core disability competencies is an important first step in improving health equity for PWD. We report broad agreement among key disability stakeholder groups on the knowledge and skills necessary to provide disability competent healthcare. The core disability competencies establishes a road map for physiotherapy training programs toward establishing a disability competent physiotherapy workforce.  

Implications: Physiotherapists work closely with PWD on a daily basis; training a disability competent physiotherapy workforce will surely improve health outcomes for PWD. The Core Competencies on Disability for Health Care Education can guide the development and inclusion of disability content in physiotherapy learning objectives, curricular elements, and evaluation metrics. Physiotherapists and educators across the globe can use and adapt these competencies for their practice and physiotherapy training programs.

Funding, acknowledgements: This project was supported in part by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Cooperative Agreement No. DD000015.

Keywords: Disability, Competencies, Education

Topic: Education

Did this work require ethics approval? No
Institution: N/A
Committee: N/A
Reason: Did not contain human subjects research; rather involved new developments in education through building national consensus on core educational competencies.

All authors, affiliations and abstracts have been published as submitted.

Back to the listing