Today we are excited to announce that the EPA has joined the Physiotherapy and Refugees Education Project (PREP) as associate partner. PREP is an Erasmus+ project led by the Western University of Applied Sciences in Bergen, Norway. It seeks to address the mismatch between the competence of physiotherapists and the complex rehabilitation needs of a growing population of refugees and migrants in Europe. PREP is an incredibly important project kickstarting the further development of our profession in a particular important direction.
PREP is already comprised of an incredible group of partners, associate partners and collaboration projects including the Karolinska Institutet, HAN University of Applied Sciences, Trinity College Dublin, Physiopedia and many more, so we couldn’t be more honoured to join this outstanding team.
(Excerpt from PREP website) Refugees and migrants have complex health needs that are a result of a cumulative trauma experienced in their home countries, during their dangerous journey, or in the period of adjustment in their new country. This diverse and non-homogenous group also comes with resources in terms of resilience that we need to learn from and use in the healing process. However, they also face barriers accessing healthcare services because of language and cultural differences, differences in socio-economic status, and a lack of familiarity with local environment and healthcare system. There is a gap in competence of health care professionals, including physiotherapists to meet their complex needs, many of which can be addressed by physiotherapy. There is a clear lack of definition regarding physiotherapists competencies needed to serve refugees and migrants, and a lack of common strategies to address challenges of migration which has negative implications for health.
A key aim of PREP will therefore be the development of online open-access courses for physiotherapists seeking to expand their knowledge and skills in the incredibly important and, in fact, urgent field. Because climate change and environmental degradation are major contributors to climate migration and this is expected to worsen over the coming years, knowing how to meet the needs of these populations and understanding the difficulties they are experiencing will also be a core theme from an environmental physiotherapy perspective. We are honoured to be able to contribute to the development of course content related to climate migration and future directions for physiotherapy.