Background: Cerebral Vascular Accident (CVA), or stroke, has become an epidemic in Zimbabwe with the incidence rising significantly over the past two decades. Most patients in Zimbabwe who have had a CVA are initially admitted into a hospital for the acute phase of care and later discharged back to the community and into the care of their family. Although caregivers are forced to suddenly take on a critical role in the daily care and rehabilitation of the person who has had a stroke and continues to have disabilities, there is little to prepare someone for these responsibilities at the time the patient returns home or even in the weeks and months following. Caregiver support, which can be extended through education in how to assist the patient with daily routines and mobility, has been shown to improve the quality of life of patients and caregivers. The need to develop a standardized curriculum for use with family and other primary caregivers was identified by faculty involved in health professions education at the University of Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences. The primary purpose of the curriculum was to meet the needs of caregivers responsible for individuals who had a CVA and returned to live in their local communities in Zimbabwe. Purpose: Thus, the purpose of this paper is to describe the process of curriculum development, from needs assessment through curricular design and evaluation, as an opportunity to demonstrate how physical therapists and other allied health professionals can address community need through curriculum design. Methods: A questionnaire was developed to ascertain curricular content from the people who had a stroke and designated caregivers. Results: Intended outcomes of the curriculum included evidence of (1) decreased caregiver burden among caregivers responsible for people who have survived a stroke and returned to live in their local communities in Zimbabwe; and (2) increased function and health related quality of life of the patient who has had a stroke and of their caregiver over a period of one year. Conclusion: Although this curriculum was designed specifically to meet the needs of caregivers in Zimbabwe, the process for curriculum development and the curriculum content can be adapted in many other countries and for other rehabilitation related situations.

Author Bio(s)

  • Farayi Kaseke, BScHPT, MScPT, MScSM, Lecturer, Physiotherapy Program, Department of Rehabilitation, College of Health Sciences, University of Zimbabwe, Harara, Zimbabwe.
  • Amelia Challender, MA, Senior Evaluation Specialist, The Evaluation Center School of Education and Human Development, University of Colorado, Denver, CO, US.
  • Mary Jane Rapport, PT, DPT, PhD, FAPTA, Professor, School of Medicine, Physical Therapy Program, University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colorado, US.




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