What should we teach about disability? National consensus on disability competencies for health care education

This article was originally published here

Disabil Health J. 2020 Sep 11:100989. doi: 10.1016/j.dhjo.2020.100989. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Health care providers are unprepared to meet the health needs of patients who have disabilities. Disability training is needed, yet there is little agreement about what should be taught.

OBJECTIVE: Establish a national consensus on what healthcare providers across disciplines need to know to provide quality care to patients with all types of disabilities (e.g., mobility, sensory, developmental, mental health).

METHODS: People with disabilities, disability advocates, family members of people with disabilities, disability and health professionals, and inter-disciplinary health educators systematically evaluated and provided feedback on a draft set of disability competencies. Based on this feedback, competencies were iteratively refined.

RESULTS: After two waves of feedback, six competencies, 49 sub-competencies, and 10 principles and values emerged that addressed topics such as respect, person-centered care, and awareness of physical, attitudinal, and communication health care barriers. An overwhelming majority (89%) agreed or strongly agreed that the disability competencies reflected the core understandings needed to provide quality care for patients with disabilities, were relevant across disability types (85%), and across health care disciplines (96%). Averaging evaluative feedback across competencies, participants reported that the competencies were important (98%) and clear (96%).

CONCLUSIONS: This consensus on what to teach is an important milestone in preparing a disability competent health care workforce. Future directions for research, training, and policy are discussed. When disability is included in health care education, the health care workforce will be prepared to deliver accessible, patient-centered, quality health care to patients with disabilities.

PMID:32952097 | DOI:10.1016/j.dhjo.2020.100989