In many countries, the rehabilitation workforce is underequipped to meet population needs due to large scale shortages across professions and specializations, and issues of quality and relevance. As the demand for rehabilitation escalates, the need to expand workforce production and strengthen regulation and quality assurance mechanisms becomes increasingly critical, especially in low-resource settings. Competency frameworks are a key tool for aligning the workforce with population needs through supporting competency-based education and training and regulatory standards, and the development of instruments for performance appraisal and gap analysis, among other applications.
Recognizing the need for a competency framework that can be ‘adapted and adopted’ by any rehabilitation professional group or specialization and for any setting, WHO, along with partners, developed the Rehabilitation Competency Framework (RCF). The RCF defines the core values and beliefs shared by the rehabilitation workforce, and encompasses the competencies, behaviours, knowledge and skills required to perform the range of activities and tasks involved in rehabilitation practice and service delivery.
The RCF is accompanied by two guides that support its uptake and use: a guide for adapting it to specific contexts; and a guide for developing a rehabilitation programme and curriculum based on a contextualized competency framework. Collectively, these tools support competency-based approaches to strengthening the rehabilitation workforce so that it is prepared to meet the needs of populations in the 21st century.