Evolving Opportunities for People Living with a Disability and the Need to Prepare Physiotherapists for Community-based Rehabilitation
This paper discusses the relevant issues regarding the role of physical therapists in a community-based rehabilitation (CBR) model that seeks to improve the quality of life of persons with disabilities and their families by meeting their basic needs. CBR focuses on the needs of the individual and the wider population, and extends beyond purely medical interpretation. The traditional institutional-based medical model approach to rehabilitation —which is frequently driven by health care professionals rather than the needs of people with disabilities, their care givers and communities— is often inappropriate, inefficient. Moreover, recognizing the global significant shortfalls in the number of physiotherapists available to provide services, coupled with the increasing global economic constraints, there is an urgent need to develop innovative ways to utilize physiotherapists in the community. In addition to the need for reorganization and reconceptualization of the philosophies underpinning therapy, preparing physiotherapists to change practice from traditional institutional services to community services requires a major change in attitude to both service delivery models and to their roles as therapists under these different models, especially in developing countries.