Author ORCID Identifier

Charlemaine Deane A. Perez: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1752-8704


Introduction: Physical therapy (PT) practice is expected to dynamically respond to the growing needs of older adults. Currently, there is paucity in meeting the demands of the aging Filipino population that may be linked to the status of undergraduate PT education. To date, there are no known systematically analyzed data that explores the breadth of geriatric content in the local BSPT programs. This study aimed to describe the integration of geriatric-related content in the pre-clinical and clinical entry-level PT curricula.

Methods: Descriptive cross-sectional research design using survey instrumentation was conducted among heads and PT educators in higher educational institutions and healthcare institutions located in the National Capital Region, Philippines from December 2015 to March 2016.

Results: Fifty-two responses from a total of 87 physical therapists were included in data analysis after screening. Many of the participants (>50%) determined that pre-clinical and clinical geriatric-related PT competencies were always (81-100% of the time) and often (61-80% of the time) taught. Among pre-clinical and clinical competencies, clinical attitudinal skills were the most taught. Clinical practical skills, pre-clinical practical skills, and pre-clinical knowledge competencies were never taught (0-20% of the time). Majority of the participants (93.3%) perceive the importance of integrating geriatric PT-related content in the curriculum but, only 65.8% perceive that the integration is sufficient.

Discussion: The integration of geriatric-focused content on psychosocial changes with aging, multifactorial conditions, airway clearance techniques, use of best available evidence, interprofessional collaboration, and on clinical training is insufficient despite its importance. The incongruity may be influenced by lack of intentional exposure and role-modeling to students. The study findings should be interpreted with caution because of low sample size. Further research is recommended to understand the depth of integration of geriatric-related content in entry-level PT programs in the Philippines.