UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Adult educators’ role in the rehabilitation of physically disabled adults Holden, Marie-Louise


The purposes of this study were to investigate the psychosocial needs of the chronically disabled and to determine the extent to which the adult educator could further expand the educational opportunities which could partially fulfill these needs. Due to limited research by adult educators in this field, most of the literature investigated and consultations conducted were in other disciplines. In the chronic care field, medical personnel were visited, extended care and rehabilitation centres were inspected, disabled persons were interviewed, and facilities for the disabled at universities in Vancouver, B.C. were studied. Finally, a four-month field study was undertaken at an extended care hospital in Victoria, B.C. The field study followed "A Model for Research and Evaluation on Rehabilitation" proposed by Suchman. The literature revealed that the number of physically disabled has increased in this century with a corresponding rise in their psychosocial needs. In previous centuries the numbers of chronically disabled were few and the medical orientation was towards the physical aspect of disease. This practice has persisted to the present day. Owing to these increases and to the fact that there appears to be insufficient time for the complete care of the patient, both physical and psychosocial, the psychosocial needs cannot be adequately met by physicians and nurses. These needs are now recognized, and they appear to be predominately social. Sociologists and adult educators should participate to prevent these needs from becoming psychological. Three factors that may determine the outcome of rehabilitation are: Motivation, goals and integration and these aspects are illustrated in the case histories studied. The adult educators must recognize the importance of their role in achieving these factors with the disabled. Unlike Sweden, no comprehensive effort has been made in North America to provide education for the disabled. Some universities and adult educational facilities have been modified and services supplied to the disabled but few adult educators offer services to these people outside of institutions and yet the value of education, whether it be for self-enrichment or vocational rehabilitation, cannot be overemphasized. Even in the brief field study at St. Mary's Extended Care Hospital the benefits of adult education in aiding rehabilitation were demonstrated. It is concluded that there might be two main causes for this oversight by adult educators. The first is that there is no inclusive registry of disabled, therefore, the extent of the problem might not be apparent. The second is that there are no courses for adult educators on the medical problems of the disabled and adult educators are thereby ill-prepared to assist in rehabilitation. It is recommended that the Provincial Government register all the disabled; that the Canadian Adult Education Association familiarize its members with this problem; and that it suggest further research and study in this area. Courses should be organized by Continuing Education Departments at Universities, Colleges, Adult Education Centres or by Correspondence. Adult Education Research Centres should further explore the role of adult educators in the field. Adult Education Departments should stress the removal of all physical barriers from educational facilities. Correspondence courses and personal contacts should be initiated and maintained in the home by the adult educator or volunteer. Counselling in regard to adult education should also be available. The above recommendations would make it possible for adult educators to contribute to the rehabilitation of the disabled.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


For non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.