New course offers comprehensive look at rehab

Friday, February 24, 2012

PITTSBURGH - An online course will offer everything a new rehab clinician needs to hit the ground running, said Mark Schmeler, lead course developer.

"Fundamentals of Wheelchair Seating and Mobility," launched in early January, offers participants eight modules of fundamental information and 1.6 CEUs. 

"Anyone can take the course at any time," said Schmeler, a University of Pittsburgh assistant professor. "If you hire someone new and want to bring them up to snuff quickly, tell them to take this course."

A $98,788 educational grant from Paralyzed Veterans of America in 2008 financed the development of the course, which is currently in use by VA clinics. Schmeler also uses it at UPitt, he said. 

Most available educational opportunities focus on one aspect of providing mobility equipment; this course covers all the bases in one comprehensive program with evidence-based information. Students follow two case studies that illustrate each step of the provision process and how they all fit together. 

Schmeler said he considered writing a textbook, but this offers him a chance to make changes when technology and other aspects of providing mobility change. 

Response so far has been positive, he said. 

"When the announcement went out, people said, 'This is great--we've been needing this a long time,'" said Schmeler.