Purpose: The survey aimed to identify common strengths and weaknesses regarding the characteristics, management and implementation of Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR) training in the undergraduate curriculum of Schools of Physical Therapy in the Philippines, and make recommendations for improvement.
Method: A survey was conducted with the academic heads of CBR departments in 10 Physical Therapy schools. The institutions were selected through cluster sampling according to regional location. Nine of these were private institutions. Data was collected through a 24-item self-assessment survey distributed to the heads of the participating colleges /departments.
Results: A number of strengths and weaknesses were identified. The strengths were: all schools had a 1 to 2-month clinical CBR course integrated into their undergraduate curriculum; CBR courses were supported by a course syllabus, learning outcomes, student assessment and clinical training manual; 80% of institutions had implementing policies and guidelines governing management of the CBR programme(s); at least one physiotherapist was involved in the management of the CBR programme(s); and, CBR activities were delivered in coordination with key stakeholders management, with emphasis on delivery of physical therapy services, disability prevention, health education, participation of persons with disabilities and community awareness. The weaknesses were: no head/programme coordinator for 30% of CBR programmes; 40% did not have clinical coordinators as designated management positions in the CBR programme; only 50% of academic staff received formal CBR training, of which 80% was provided through CBR summits and professional interaction with other physical therapists; and, only 50% of schools adopted a multidisciplinary approach to service delivery which was focused on the Health domain of the CBR Matrix.
Conclusion: The CBR component of the undergraduate physical therapy curriculum in the Philippines can be improved. A shift in the teaching to transdisciplinary care and inter-professional learning is recommended. Regular review of the CBR indicators should be done by the schools, including the key stakeholders. Challenges for CBR implementation were recruitment of community volunteers as CBR workers, availability of indigenous resources and finances to support CBR activities, and family participation in the rehabilitation of a relative with a disability. Each school should determine whether current human resources and training are adequate. Schools must be encouraged to jointly identify common problems in CBR education and share solutions.