Physiotherapy refugee education

For those of you that are new to PREP it stands for Physiotherapy and Refugee Education Project. The project is a partnership between a huge number of academic organisations which of course includes Physiopedia, something we are really proud of. The overall aim of PREP is to create a free online course for physiotherapists to enable them to meet the needs of the refugees who find themselves in their new country. This will include competencies and a wide range of learning objectives.

There are many milestones of such an ambitious aim – the first of it’s kind – and several of these have already taken place. One of which was an expert consensus panel which sat to agree the set of competencies physiotherapists should have when working with refugees. Below is a ranked list of themes from the expert panel which will go on to direct the final list of competencies and help direct the curriculum once all stages of the project have taken place. More information about the panel will be shared in an upcoming post.

The ranked list of competencies created by the PREP expert panel

The Scoping Review

The scoping review was the next big milestone to be complete. Rachael Lowe discussed the findings with Emer McGowen from Trinity College Dublin,  who has spent more time than anyone else on the scoping review. You can watch the discussion in the video below.

To undertake a review of this size involves a mammoth task so thank you to everyone who was involved. The initial search strategy found over 1000 articles which were then screened down to the final 10 peer reviewed articles which were included within the review. As well as the peer reviewed article ‘grey’ articles were also screened which led to a further 12 being part of the final review. The data extraction could then take place and this boiled down to 3 key themes emerging from the 12 reviewed articles.

  1. Refugee Health
  2. Cultural Confidence
  3. Refugees and the Healthcare System

These themes can then be broken down into sub-themes which are discussed in detail by Emer in the video above. These themes will now go on to inform competencies alongside the results of the expert panel.

Why is PREP Important?

The demography of Europe is changing. There is a significant migration of refugees fleeing violence and persecution who make the tortuous journey towards Europe. While many arrive through Greece and along the Mediterranean, the goal of the displaced populations is not to remain there. Most make their way to Scandinavia seeking a better life, employment, education and acceptance.

Due to the tortuous conditions in their home country as well as the toll of the journey across Europe, the refugees are likely to be suffer from poor overall health. They are also susceptible to picking up diseases and illnesses along the way during their battle to safety.

From a rehabilitation and health perspective this population struggle to have their health needs met in their new countries, particularly from a physiotherapy perspective. As a profession we know very little about the knowledge, skills and competencies that we need to enable our colleagues around the continent to help those who who really need us.

Follow the PREP on Twitter and on the PREP website.