A proposal for an undergraduate stroke rehabilitation curriculum appropriate for South African occupational therapy.

Juliana Freeme, Daleen Casteleijn


The incidence of stroke will likely increase in the next few decades as the expected health of sub-Saharan Africans is predicted to deteriorate as a result of increasing infectious and poverty-related diseases.  Effective curriculum planning regarding stroke rehabilitation in tertiary educational institutions training occupational therapy students should be a pertinent topic in South Africa.  Studies have shown that the risk factors for vascular disease as well as the increasing age of the population will increase the incidence of stroke in sub-Saharan Africa in the next few years. This paper explores the opinions of clinicians and experts in the field of neurology about the occupational therapy stroke rehabilitation curricula.  It also aims to clarify and evaluate opinions regarding occupational therapy stroke rehabilitation curricula, by raising awareness of the issues pertaining to the current educational curricula. Two combined methods were used which included a curriculum audit and a panel discussion.  Specific information was extracted from the audit regarding the requirements for training in stroke rehabilitation, revising the number of stroke rehabilitation theories taught, the use of updated and uniform terminology across all universities, and lastly the need to teach and use standardised assessments to measure effectiveness of stroke rehabilitation techniques.  Several common topics arose from the panel discussion, including the need for a suitable stroke rehabilitation theory, the difficulties in supervising students due to outdated and conflicting use of stroke rehabilitation terminology, and the importance of focussing the curricula on the needs of the South African community. 

Key words: Stroke rehabilitation, curriculum, occupational therapy training, South Africa

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ISSN 0038-2337 (print), ISSN 2310-3833 (online)

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