Introduction:Health care is one of the most important fields not only in individual countries, but globally as well, yet it remains one of the most sensitive topics, too. Global organisations have calculated that one out of seven residents around the world has some sort of disability. It is very likely that due to various processes, the number of people with disabilities will increase. Therefore, the world in general and each country in particular, Lithuania included, faces a great challenge: to ensure suitable and high-quality accessibility to health care services for the disabled. Each country must have clear political guidelines and strategies how to ensure training of health care specialists qualified and able to carry out their tasks when working with the disabled. Therefore, this article analyses global trends of training specialists to work with the disabled and legal basis of such specialist training in Lithuania.
Methods:This article features analysis of scientific literary sources and legal documents.
Results:International and national Lithuanian documents have clearly established that people with disabilities have equal rights to health care services like the rest of the population without any reservations, so this norm must be established adhering to the principles of accessibility, suitability and universality, and which basically should be ensured by health care specialists. However, document analysis has revealed that documents governing the training of health care specialists in Lithuania and processes related to it pay little attention to the training of future health care specialists to work with the disabled, while descriptions of some specific areas of studies, e.g. dentistry, pharmacy, etc. designed to train health care specialists do no address the work with the disabled at all.
Discussion and conclusions:Analysis has revealed that institutions of higher education in Lithuania that train health care specialists are not legally entitled to, other requirements aside, to focus the study process on the work with the disabled. Therefore, it begs the question whether such specialists are actually ready to implement the requirements guiding the provision of health care services and ensure top-quality and proper provision of services to all members of the society, irrespective of their special needs, disabilities, etc. Therefore, this article can serve as a basis for further research related to the training of health care specialists to work with the disabled in order to identify what practice is applied in this area in other countries, as well as to ensure it internationally, what are the options and means required to implement it and how to improve the training of health care specialists as much as possible to work with the disabled ensuring the quality of health care in particular and their life in general.
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