Exploring the inclusion of teaching and learning on assistive products in undergraduate curricula of health sciences faculties at three South African Universities

Visagie, Surona ; Mji, Gubela ; Scheffler, Elsje ; Ohajunwa, Chioma ; Seymour, Nicky (2019-12-13)

CITATION: Visagie, S. et al. 2021. Exploring the inclusion of teaching and learning on assistive products in undergraduate curricula of health sciences faculties at three South African Universities. Disability and rehabilitation. Assistive technology, 16(7):722–729. doi:10.1080/17483107.2019.1701104

The original publication is available at https://www.tandfonline.com/journals/iidt20

Article

Background: Providers must be knowledgeable on policy, systems and products to provide a person centred service and prescribe the most appropriate assistive product for each user. Aim: This study aimed to determine to what extent teaching and learning on assistive products are included in undergraduate curricula of the Health science faculties at three universities in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. Methods Data were gathered through a cross sectional survey. Fifteen programmes were approached of whom eight participated. Information on teaching on assistive products was sourced from purposively identified key informants, through e-mail questionnaires. Descriptive analysis was done. Results: A total of 104 assistive products were included in the eight programmes. Manual wheelchairs were the only product for which teaching was underscored by policy guidelines. Handheld mobility devices and wheelchairs were covered by five programmes. Teaching on assistive products for self-care, participation in domestic life, indoor and outdoor activities, employment and leisure was limited. Thirty seven products listed on the GATE List of 50 were taught by at least one of the programmes. Teaching and examination were theoretical in nature and occurred in professional silos. Clinical exposure was often incidental. For many products none of the four service delivery steps were covered. Conclusion: Assistive products were included in all the participating undergraduate programmes. The range of included products and the level of training were insufficient to prepare graduates to effectively address user’s needs. Newly appointed graduates will require early in-service training to ensure appropriate assistive product service delivery. Implications for rehabilitation: Undergraduate teaching on assistive products is provided in professional silos. Not all products on the GATE APL of 50 are included in under graduate teaching. Teaching does not always ensure a proficiency level that will support graduates to provide an independent AT service.

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