The International Classification of Functioning Disability and Health (ICF) provides the language and a framework applying a unified and standardized form to describe health and conditions related to health. Teams who work in an interdisciplinary and multi professional way, as it is the case in neuro rehabilitation, can profit from integrating the ICF. The aim of this paper was to show how well implemented the ICF is in Austria with occupational therapists, speech and language therapists and physiotherapists working in neuro rehabilitation.
The present paper is a follow-up project of the APPEAR study. An extended questionnaire, which has been sent to 109 therapists working in Austrian neurologic rehabilitation facilities forms the basis for the results presented here.
64 questionnaires were returned from occupational therapists, speech and language therapists and physio therapists and were used for evaluation. 50% of the therapists who answered the questionnaire (n=25) stated that the ICF has already been implemented in their institution. Therapists often applied ICF (n=35) when using common documentation systems. Additionally, therapists consider the ICF an aid to support interdisciplinary and multi professional work. The therapists also stated (n=27) that they are not satisfied with the ICF when inpatients become outpatients.
Many therapists answering the questionnaire consider the ICF an important tool for optimizing the rehabilitation process. Barriers contributing to hindering an implementation of the ICF should be eliminated in the future. In order to achieve that aim, institutions should provide time and financial resources to further the education of their employees.
European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in tertiary education at Universities of Applied Sciences recommend a high level of competence orientation. This can be achieved and evaluated by the definition of Learning Outcomes. Furthermore, these Outcomes can assure a comparison of the level of education after graduation. Efforts should be made to achieve this form of Quality Assurance for the professional education of physiotherapists.
The aim of this paper is to state consensus of the Austrian Universities of Applied Sciences Network for Physiotherapy in Neurology through the definition of shared Learning Outcomes for the field of Neurology for undergraduate physiotherapy students.
Based on the guidelines of the European Qualification Framework (EQF), Physio Austria (Austrian Association of Physiotherapists) published the competency profile for physiotherapists describing learning outcomes of EQF levels 6 as the first study cycle with Bachelor degree. Specific learning outcomes for Physiotherapy in Neurology were added for the further development and differentiated assurance of Quality Standards in coordination with experts from the Universities of Applied Sciences in Austria.
In addition to the Learning Outcomes described in the competency profile of Physio Austria, this consensus paper describes those specifically for the EQF Level 6 of physiotherapy in neurology. Specifications in neurology were made for the following roles: Expert in Physiotherapy, Communicator, Teamworker, Health Promoter, Innovator, Health Professional.
Recommendations for quality assurance in tertiary education are actively pursued across all participating Universities of Applied Sciences. This allows a better comparability of the educational standards in Physiotherapy in Neurology in Europe as well as internationally. This is of great importance for physiotherapists as health professionals.