Towards a Core Set of Clinical Skills for Health-Related Community Based Rehabilitation in Low and Middle Income Countries

Jessica O'Dowd, Malcolm MacLachlan, Chapel Khasnabis, Priscille Geiser


Purpose: This research aims to identify a core set of clinical skills for working in a Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) setting, and to discuss whether they are appropriate for task shifting to a new or an alternative cadre of rehabilitation workers.

Methods: The study focussed on work activities relating to the health component of the CBR Matrix. 40 health professionals working in CBR in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMIC) were surveyed to discover the clinical skills that were used most frequently during the past 3 months and to determine which of these skills were deemed most important in a CBR setting.

Results: A core set of clinical skills for health-related CBR work in LMIC were identified: advocacy and sensitisation; assessment, monitoring and reporting; behavioural and cognitive interventions; collaboration and referral; communication; continuing professional development; education; gait training; group work; home-based rehabilitation; manual therapy; neurofacilitation techniques; positioning; prescription of strengthening exercises; prescription of stretching programmes; provision of aids, assistive devices and technologies; psychosocial support; recreational therapy; self-care; sensory interventions; supervision; upper body rehabilitation; vocational rehabilitation and working with families.

Conclusions: It is possible to identify a core set of health-related CBR skills. These may be considered in the development of training programmes for new or alternative cadres of CBR workers, using a task-shifting model including appropriate support, supervision and referral mechanisms.

Implications: Further research is required to establish the generalisability of the skills sets identified here, both across contexts and different client groups and their needs. The identification of core sets of skills for other areas of the CBR Matrix - livelihood, social, empowerment and education – could similarly facilitate access to these domains for people with disabilities.


CBR; task-shifting; disability; rehabilitation; core set; skills

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