Train-the-trainer week UKROTHE at VIVES (Belgium)

#UKROTHE# Ivan Franko Drogobitsk State Pedagogical University continues work on the implementation of the Erasmus+ KA2 “UKROTHE” International Project (Developing an Occupational Therapy study programme in Ukraine). From September 26 to 31, 2022, a week of occupational therapy training was held at VIVES University College (Brugge, Belgium) as part of the UKROTHE project. In addition to Drohobych University, the participants of the training were our partners from Khmelnytskyi National University, the rehabilitation center “Modrychi” and the Charity Fund “CARITAS” of the Sambir-Drohobych Diocese of the UGCC.

European project coordinators Sharon Schillewaert (VIVES University of Applied Sciences, Belgium) and Anne-Marie Denolf (VIVES University College (Brugge, Belgium)) organized a very intensive program.On the first day, the participants practised the Canadian model of occupational performance and engagement (CMOP- E) in working with patients/clients with impaired cerebral circulation and after spinal cord injury under the guidance of a practicing occupational therapist and an occupational therapy teacher at the VIVES educational institution Dirk Caulier. The Optional Workshop, held in the training occupational therapy laboratory for care, was extremely interesting and useful for the formation of professional skills of an occupational therapist. The participants were shown modern kitchen and bathroom equipment adapted to the needs of people with disabilities. Each of those present had the opportunity to master the methods of moving people with mobility impairments from a wheelchair to the bathroom, to the toilet and back. Practicing occupational therapists from Modrychi, Veronika Tokmakova and Vira Koval – Drohobych University graduates, specialty “Physical therapy, occupational therapy” –  took an active part in the workshop.

The second day of the training under the leadership of Charlotte Demeyer was also productive. The participants practiced how to develop communication skills in persons with special needs by solving situational tasks in groups; listened to a lecture by Dr. Stijn Debaets on the formation and development of the profession in Belgium. Very interesting was the training on how to use occupational therapy diagnostic equipment purchased for universities within the framework of the “UKROTHE” project. In particular, the participants trained the method to determine sensitivity using a test with a set of monofilaments (Semmes-weinstein – monofilaments test) and the method of evaluating motor activity, dexterity and bimanual hand coordination using the Purdue Pegboard Test (PPT). The day ended with a discussion of challenges facing the implementation of the project and the need for its extension.

On August 28, several training sessions took place outside the VIVES campus in Bruges with visits to the teaching and research laboratory for the ethics of care “Stimul”, which was the first laboratory of its kind organized in Flanders in 2008. It provides empathic skills training based on stimulating experience techniques for people who will take care of people with special needs . By taking part in the training, the project participants had the opportunity to be in the role of a patient and an occupational therapist, to better understand the patient’s condition and the required amount of occupational therapy assistance.Next was a visit to the ХіNiX rehabilitation clinic, where the project participants had the opportunity to understand, and most importantly, in a creative way, “feel” life without vision and the great additional value of other senses in the absence of vision; familiarized themselves with and tested the means, methods and strategies that help people with vision loss to live an independent life.

Especially interesting was a visit to Sint-Jan hospital where the department of physical rehabilitation is well-equipped, the staff includes 24 physical therapists and 36 occupational therapists. Dirk Caulier and Jovanny Brae introduced us to the state-of-the-art physical therapy and occupational therapy equipment available in the department and demonstrated its use. It should be noted that, in addition to the patients of the hospital, football players of the Belgian national team undergo rehabilitation in the department.
The fourth day of Train-the-trainer week on August 28 started with physical rehabilitation training conducted by Dirk Caulier (learning to walk with mobility aids, transferring from a wheelchair to a functional bed and back to a wheelchair, from a wheelchair to a car and back to a wheelchair ), followed by A. Denolf’s training seminar – occupational therapy interventions for developmental disabilities (intellectual disability). Every participant got an incredible impression while visiting the “Ons Erf” facility, which cares for and supports adults with multiple intellectual disabilities, intensive customer support is organized in the boarding house, which is based on the principles of creating conditions for the highest possible living standard


On the last day of Train-the-trainer week, each of the participants gained experience on accessibility and universal design: how to start training mobility and orientation of visually impaired people in real situations (trainers Hanne and Siebe). Hilde Pitteljon and Anne-Marie Denolf helped to practically master the motor functions assessment methodology in children with cerebral palsy using the tool called “Gross Motor Classification System”, (GMFCS), to master the methodology of assessing the participation of children and adolescents in everyday life, at school and in the community together with environmental factors in each of these places (PEM/CY).

Train-the-trainer week UKROTHE on occupational therapy at the VIVES University College was extremely interesting, effective and productive, for which Drohobych University expresses sincere gratitude to the European project coordinators, training organizers and teachers of this college and representatives of other organizations involved in the training.Also during the visit, the head of the delegation, Vice-Rector for Scientific and Pedagogical Work, International Relations and Information Activities of Drohobych University, Ihor Hrynyk, held a working meeting with the head of the Sustainability and Loneliness project, lecturer at VIVES University, international coordinator Nele Castelein. At the meeting, they had a detailed analysis of the results of participation in the project of applicants for the educational program “Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy”and discussed the feedback from teachers as well as students. Nele Castelein was highly praised by the Drohobych University students who successfully completed all the tasks assigned to them distinguishing themselves not only by their professional knowledge but also by their general erudition and goodwill during communication and mutual evaluation. After completing the course, the students received an international certificate of participation.

Following the results of the meeting, university representatives made a unanimous decision to continue the project already in November 2022. They defined the criteria for selecting participants, and also agreed on lecturers from each educational institution.