ISWP Hybrid Wheelchair Service Training

Introducing the ISWP Hybrid Wheelchair Service Training – Basic Level, a collaborative effort between ISWP and ISPO GEM

Background

It is estimated that only 5-15% of the 75 million individuals in need of wheelchairs for mobility and functionality have access to appropriately prescribed wheelchairs that meet their requirements. This global inadequacy in wheelchair services can be attributed, in part, to a lack of education in wheelchair service provision.

In response to this challenge, the World Health Organization (WHO) took a proactive step in 2008 by publishing the Guidelines on the Provision of Manual Wheelchairs in Less-Resourced Settings (WHO Guidelines). These guidelines recommend the integration of wheelchair service content into existing rehabilitation training programs.

Since 2012, WHO has developed a series of open-access training packages aimed at enhancing the capacity of wheelchair personnel and services worldwide. These WHO Wheelchair Service Training Packages are designed to be delivered in person by experienced trainers. As of November 2023, there are seven such packages available.

However, it’s important to acknowledge that implementing these training packages can be resource-intensive. They typically require trainers and trainees to be physically present for at least one week, which may entail additional costs for travel, accommodation, and logistics. Consequently, depending on the context, there may be various barriers to conducting these training sessions in person.

As an alternative training approach, in 2016, the International Society of Wheelchair Professionals (ISWP) developed a hybrid course based on the WHO Wheelchair Service Training Package – Basic Level. ISWP piloted this course as outlined in the following infographic, “Learn When, What, and Where.” 

The hybrid methodology integrates a blend of self-paced online modules, live video conference meetings, and in-person sessions. This approach significantly diminishes the need for extensive in-person training, rendering it more scalable and flexible for various training settings, including conferences and continuing education programs at universities.

The International Society of Wheelchair Professionals (ISWP) has developed hybrid wheelchair courses tailored for wheelchair providers in international contexts. These courses were meticulously crafted through a systematic approach, under the guidance of an international consortium of stakeholders.

In evaluations conducted, the Hybrid wheelchair course has demonstrated high-quality standards, meeting expectations in two out of three assessments. Moreover, our pilot study has shown its effectiveness in enhancing basic level wheelchair knowledge among participants. (Reference: Development of a Hybrid Course on Wheelchair Service Provision for clinicians in international contexts | PLOS ONE).

Since the development and piloting of a basic wheelchair service hybrid course, ISWP has developed online courses for 5 WHO Wheelchair Service Training Packages including the ISWP Online Wheelchair Service Training Series at the Basic Level which has been translated into 6 different languages (English, French, Spanish, Urdu, Portuguese and Ukrainian). ISWP Online Wheelchair Service Trainer Series at the Basic, Intermediate, Managers and Stakeholders are also available in English and Spanish. The ISWP Hybrid package has been used to train over 1,212 providers from 19 different countries as of December 2023.

Collaboration with ISPO GEM

In this collaboration with ISPO GEM, we will be delivering the ISWP Hybrid Wheelchair Service Training – Basic Level with a 1-day in-person training. The objective of the course is to assess individual needs; assist in selecting and setting up the most appropriate wheelchair from those available; train users and caregivers how to use and maintain the wheelchair; and follow up with individuals that can sit upright without postural support. The target audience is personnel fulfilling clinical and technical roles in a basic wheelchair service including professionals like Prosthetics and Orthotics. After the completion of the training, you will also be eligible to receive the ISWP’s Wheelchair Service Provider Certification at the Basic Level which acknowledges that providers have received appropriate wheelchair service provision training and have the knowledge at the basic level and have received appropriate training, which are valuable to both employers and wheelchair users. Certified providers are acknowledged as ISWP Certified Wheelchair Service Providers for 2 years on ISWP’s website.

In collaboration with ISPO GEM, we are excited to introduce the ISWP Hybrid Wheelchair Service Training – Basic Level, featuring a comprehensive 1-day in-person training component. This course is designed with the primary objective of addressing individual needs, facilitating the selection and setup of the most suitable wheelchair options available, providing training to users and caregivers on wheelchair usage and maintenance, and conducting follow-ups with individuals capable of sitting upright without postural support.

Our target audience comprises personnel who fulfil clinical and technical roles in basic wheelchair services, including professionals in Prosthetics and Orthotics. Upon successful completion of the training, participants will be eligible to obtain the ISWP Wheelchair Service Provider Certification at the Basic Level. This certification signifies that providers have undergone appropriate training in wheelchair service provision, possess fundamental knowledge in the field, and have acquired essential skills essential for both employers and wheelchair users alike.

Furthermore, certified providers will be recognized as ISWP Certified Wheelchair Service Providers for a duration of two years on ISWP’s official website. Join us in this transformative journey to enhance wheelchair services and positively impact the lives of individuals with mobility needs.

 The following is the estimated timeline of the course. We anticipate participants to spend no more than couple of hours per week when the online component of the course starts.

DateActivitiesMethod
September 23OrientationSynchronous (Zoom)
September 23-27Week 1 of ISWP online modules training (modules A1-A4)Asynchronous 
September 27Recitation for week 1Synchronous (Zoom)
September 30-October 4Week 2 of ISWP online modules training (modules A5-A8)Asynchronous
October 4Recitation for week 2Synchronous (Zoom)
October 7-11Week 3 of ISWP online modules training (modules B1-B7) Asynchronous
October 11Recitation for week 3Synchronous (Zoom)
October 14-18Week 4 of ISWP online modules training (modules B8-B14)Asynchronous
October 18Recitation for week 4Synchronous (Zoom)
October 25Basic In-person (at GEM, Houston, USA)

More information can be found on this website: https://iswp.org/training-2/ If you have any other questions regarding the training, please reach out to info@iswp.org