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Enhancing Wheelchair Education in Canadian Occupational Therapy University Programs

Funder: Craig H Neilsen Foundation

Funding period
USD 49 K
Funding amount
(1) Project Title: Enhancing Wheelchair Education in Canadian Occupational Therapy University Programs (2) Brief Project Description: The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends an 8-step wheelchair service delivery process. Regrettably, the vast majority of wheelchair users do not have access to those 8 steps, even in high-resourced settings. In Canada, occupational therapists are the principal providers of wheelchair service delivery. However, clinical practice varies considerably among therapists and settings, with wheelchair-related interventions being less comprehensive than best practice would suggest. Lack of adequate training for health care professionals has been identified as a major contributing factor. Currently, inclusion of the knowledge and skills required to provide best practice wheelchair provision is neither uniform nor comprehensive in the 14 occupational therapy university programs in Canada. Thus, the overarching aim for this project is to develop a profile of wheelchair education provided in Canadian occupational therapy university curricula and a strategic plan for addressing identified gaps. Specific project objectives are to: establish a working group of engaged wheelchair service provision educators (objective 1), describe the current wheelchair service provision education (objective 2) in comparison to the WHO 8-step wheelchair service provision process (objective 3), document facilitators and barriers to the integration of wheelchair content into curricula (objective 4) and develop a national strategic plan for future integration of best practice wheelchair content into Canadian OT university programs (objective 5). This project will lay the foundation for the enhancement of the education of occupational therapists regarding the wheelchair service provision process. In turn, it will improve the services provided to Canadians living with spinal cord injury and thus, their quality of life. (3) Expected Outcomes: At the conclusion of this project, we will have documented a comprehensive inventory of curriculum content and education strategies related to wheelchair service delivery among all 14 Canadian MOT programs, mapped against the WHO best-practice guidelines, identifying potential gaps, and establishing a national strategic plan to optimize curricula across universities. In addition, we will have set the groundwork to establish a Community of Practice among project participants to maintain project momentum and implement the strategic plan. (4) This funding request aligns with the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation in that, the improvement of education of Canadian occupational therapists in the area of wheelchair provision will improve the rehabilitation of those with spinal cord injury, thus ultimately improving their mobility, independence and participation in chosen life activities. (CHN: COandI chn:wdg)
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    1117 Public Health and Health Services


    1303 Specialist Studies In Education

  • RCDC

    Injury (total) Accidents/Adverse Effects

  • RCDC

    Health Services

  • RCDC


  • RCDC

    Clinical Research

  • RCDC


  • Health Research Areas

    Health services & systems

  • Broad Research Areas

    Health Services Research