Year 2023, Volume 52, Issue 3

Effectiveness of sign language training for the initial Physical Therapy interview

Núñez-Brugman I, Martínez-López L, Díaz-Álvarez C, Chévere-Rivera K, Rodríguez-Torres J.


Introduction: it has been shown that health services offered to deaf people present a limitation in patient/health professional communication, mainly due to their lack of knowledge of sign language. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of sign language training to decrease social distance and increase the cultural competencies of the physical therapist, during the initial interview with deaf people. Material and method: quantitative study with a quasi-experimental design. A virtual training of two consecutive Saturdays totalling 4.5 hours was developed and facilitated for eleven physical therapists on the deaf community and sign language in the physical therapy setting. Participants were assessed through a video in which they practiced several questions from the initial interview in physical therapy using signs. A pretest and a post-test were administered to measure knowledge, attitudes, sensitivity, beliefs, and skills before and after training. Results: the results of the study showed an increase in the correct answers for the knowledge post-test (p = 0.005) and there were changes in attitudes (p = 0.032), sensitivity (p = 0.005), beliefs (p = 0.005) and skills (p = 0.003) of the participants. Conclusion: the training was effective in increasing the cultural competencies of the physical therapist group to the deaf community and decreasing the social distance between physical therapists and these patients.

Keywords: sign language, deaf, distance, cultural competency, physical therapists, training.