Healthcare and Health Promotion for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities (ID): Student Perspectives and DPT Curricular Implications

Presenter: Ciara Ruane

Research Category: Health Sciences
Additional Authors: Caroline Maciaga, Sara Nieves, Diane Lee, Christina Jung, Aleksandra Jaworska, Amanda Chan, Alexandra Capobianco

Motivation: Adults with Intellectual Disability (ID) face many health disparities but are not provided quality healthcare, in part due to the lack of training healthcare providers receive specific to this population. Inefficient and ineffective care subsequently leads to a continuing cycle of poor health outcomes for this patient population.

Purpose statement: The purposes of this research are to assess entry-level physical therapy (PT) students’ knowledge and comfort in treating adults with ID, and to develop recommendations for PT educational programming to improve patient care.

Approach: This cross-sectional study will identify PT students’ confidence levels in treating patients with ID. The Therapy Confidence Scale-Intellectual Disabilities (TCS-ID) will be transmitted via a Qualtrics survey to 368 PT students collectively in the US and Switzerland.

Results: The survey is currently being administered and data analysis will begin once the survey has been closed on March 10, 2020. A one-score t-test will be used to compare results of students and providers with and without training specific to this population. A paired t-test will be used to compare results between students.

Conclusion: This is a novel study using the TCS-ID to investigate PT student confidence. The results and best available literature will be used to develop educational programming specifically designed to train PT students to treat patients with ID. This recommendation should be further experimentally tested for effectiveness and broader applicability.