Competencies for Physiotherapist Working with Refugees

You can read more about PREP on Physiospot where we’ve been reporting on each stage of the project.

Over the past two years, the Physiopedia team has been working with the Physiotherapy and Refugee Education Project (PREP). PREP is an Erasmus+ funded project and consists of a team of collaborators from six different countries. The overall aim of PREP is to create an open online course that will educate physiotherapists on the competencies they need to meet the complex rehabilitation needs of the growing population of refugees in Europe.

The first phase of this project was to determine the core competencies of physiotherapists in rehabilitation services for refugees and migrants. This phase consisted of three projects: 1) a scoping review, 2) an online consensus-building panel of experts and 3) key informant interviews.

Physiopedia took the lead in the first project and set out to conduct a scoping review that aimed to summarise the core competencies for physiotherapists working with refugees from both peer-reviewed and grey literature. Although the focus of this scoping review was the competencies of physiotherapists, it was evident in the literature that a multidisciplinary approach to rehabilitation was necessary when working with refugees. From the review, three main competencies emerged from the literature: 1) an understanding of refugee health, 2) administration of culturally competent care and 3) knowledge of healthcare systems as they relate to refugees. However, we did find that there was a limited amount of literature describing competencies for physiotherapists working with refugees. This finding highlights the need to provide physiotherapists with access to education on how to provide care that can positively impact the health and wellness of refugees and migrants.

The Physiopedia team (Nicole Beamish and Rachael Lowe) thoroughly enjoyed working with their co-authors (Dr. Emer McGowan and Dr. Emma Stokes) on this paper and are looking forward to collaborating on future research projects.

We would also like to thank our co-investigators: Dr. Maria Alme, Dr. Kjersti Wilhelmsen, Dr. Djenana Jalovcic (Norway), Dr. Anna Patterson, Dr. Carina Boström (Sweden), Lieke Dekkers, Joost van Wijchen, Dr. Elvira Nouwens (Netherlands), Line Merete Giusti, Egil Kaberuka-Nielsen, Dr. Rolf Vaardal (Norway), and Dr. Michel Landry (USA) for their dedication to this invaluable initiative.

Our article titled “Core competencies for physiotherapists working with refugees: a scoping review” was published in Physiotherapy this summer, and until September 6th, 2020, anyone can access the full-text version of the article using the link below.

Read our article here

You can also follow the project on Twitter and on the PREP website.