THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Alarmed by the mushrooming of therapy centres in the state, the Social Justice Department has decided to come out with a minimum standard for operation. The move comes in the backdrop of complaints that some centres are giving scant regard to quality and charging exorbitant rates from parents for therapeutic sessions.
At the same time, it is learnt the Social Justice Department also has plans to empanel some centres that had higher standards in its operation and provide therapeutic sessions at subsidised rates through them. “A decision has been taken to regulate the therapy centres operating in the state. Making registration mandatory for such centres, fixing a minimum standard for operation and accrediting them accordingly is what we are planning,” Dr Mohammad Asheel, executive director, KSSM, told Express.
According to him, it was after complaints regarding the poor quality of service, charging exorbitant rates and underqualified practitioners offering therapy that KSSM had come out with a draft guideline for standardisation of therapy centres.
“The guideline that we released in January was a result of the discussions we held with the parents of children with special needs. But to come out with a comprehensive minimum standard for operation and guideline for accreditation we need to conduct a detailed discussion with various stakeholders, including therapy centres,” said Asheel. Meanwhile, it is said it was on the basis of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act that KSSM floated the idea of registration of such centres. In the act, it has been specified that such centres that offer rehabilitation will have to be registered and that too on the basis of certain criteria.
In the draft guideline released by KSSM, it has been mentioned the caretakers of children with special needs at some point of time abstain from continuing the therapies due to varying reasons, including the approach of the therapists towards the children with disability and abuses faced by kids from various therapy centres. It also stressed the need for assuring comprehensive quality care at an affordable cost.
At the same time, taking note of the dearth of qualified occupational therapists in the state, the government mooted the idea of commencing a course on occupational therapy at the National Institute of Physical Medicine And Rehabilitation and National Institute of Speech and Hearing.
The said course will be started with the help of the Kerala University of Health Sciences. It is learnt a direction has been given to Directorate of Medical Edcation to submit a report on starting a degree course on audio and speech-language pathology and physiotherapy at state-run medical colleges.