Ntsiea M.V.1, Mudzi W.1, Comley-White N.1, van Aswegen H.1, Olivier B.1, Roos R.1, Pilusa S.1, Potterton J.1, Myezwa H.1, Benjamin N.1, Naidoo V.1
1University of the Witwatersrand, Physiotherapy, Johannesburg, South Africa

Background: The health care sector, as an employer, wants graduates who can enter employment with ability to confidently assess and manage the majority of the medical conditions seen at the hospitals. Universities aim to equip graduates with broad generic, transferable skills in preparation for a path of lifelong learning.

Purpose: The main aim of this study was to establish whether the most prevalent medical conditions treated by physiotherapists in Gauteng state health facilities align with the University of the Witwatersrand physiotherapy curriculum.

Methods: This was a retrospective review which was based on secondary data of condition related statistics collected from physiotherapy departments within the Gauteng province state health facilities. University of the Witwatersrand curriculum review was a cross sectional study looking at content of the curriculum to identify medical conditions covered within the departmental curriculum document for each clinical area. Data from all Gauteng government hospitals that submitted at least 75% of their physiotherapy condition related statistics to the provincial statistics coordinator from January 2012 to December 2014 were considered and compared to medical conditions covered within University of the Witwatersrand 21st Edition, 2015 physiotherapy curriculum document and Medicine and Surgery (PHST 3003) 2015 course objectives.

Results: Condition related statistics of patients treated by physiotherapists at the provincial, regional and district hospitals within the Gauteng province municipalities during the period Jan 2012 to December 2014 were received. At least 83% of the hospitals submitted their monthly statistics and more than 53% of these hospitals submitted more than 75% of their statistics. The most common conditions treated were lower limb fractures (including ankles) (13%) followed by stroke (7.6%) and soft tissue injuries (7.1%) (n = 705597). The most common neuromusculoskeletal conditions were lower limb fractures (27.7%) followed by soft tissue injuries (15.1%) and upper limb fractures (12.9%) (n = 330511). The most common cardiopulmonary conditions were tuberculosis (24.9%), followed by pneumonia (13.8%) and patients with intercostal drains (ICDs) (13.8) (n = 94895). The most common neurological conditions were stroke (30.9%) followed by cerebral palsy (17%) and developmental delay (11.8%) (n = 174024). Within the non-specified categories, the number of intensive care unit (ICU) patients was the highest (23%), followed by sputum induction (21%) (n = 138187). Almost all the conditions listed on the Gauteng physiotherapy patients’ condition statistics except for stress and laryngectomy are included within the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) curriculum summary. The conditions are also in line with what the WCPT considers within the minimum physiotherapy training standards.

Conclusion(s): The Wits physiotherapy curriculum covers almost all medical conditions treated by physiotherapists within the Gauteng state health facilities. Conditions that are least common within these facilities are also included in the Wits curriculum and this prepares the students to practice in other worldwide clinical settings where such conditions are common.

Implications: Medical conditions treated by physiotherapists within the Gauteng state health facilities and that are within the Wits curriculum are in line with the national and international disease burden.

Funding acknowledgements: This study was not funded. Help with data collection: Ms Heidi van Zyl, Ms Elma Burger, and Ms Retha Jacobs

Topic: Education

Ethics approval: Ethical clearance (M140870) was granted by the University of the Witwatersrand ethics committee for research on human subjects

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

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