Assessment of Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy Training and Practice Patterns

Matthew L. Bush, William Dougherty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) can benefit patients with a variety of balance and vestibular disorders. This expanding field requires knowledgeable and experienced therapists; however, the practice and experience of those providing this care may vary greatly. The purpose of this study was to analyze variations in training and practice patterns among practicing vestibular rehabilitation therapists. Case–controlled cohort study. Investigation of outpatient physical therapy and audiology practices that offer vestibular rehabilitation conducted by a tertiary academic referral center. Questionnaire-based investigation of level of training in vestibular disorders and therapy, practice patterns of vestibular rehabilitation, and referral sources for VRT patients. We identified 27 subjects within the state of Kentucky who practice vestibular rehabilitation and the questionnaire response rate was 63 %. Responses indicated that 53 % of respondents had no training in VRT during their professional degree program. Attendance of a course requiring demonstration of competence and techniques was 24 % of participants. The development of VRT certification was significantly more favored by those who attended such courses compared with those who did not (p = 0.01). 50 % of therapists have direct access to patients without physician referrals. There is a wide range of educational background and training among those practicing VRT. This variability in experience may affect care provided within some communities. Certification is not necessary for the practice of VRT but the development of certification is favored among some therapists to improve standardization of practice of this important specialty.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)802-807
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Community Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This publication was supported by the National Institutes of Health (8 KL2 TR000116-02), the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (1U24-DC012079-01). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, Springer Science+Business Media New York.


  • Practice patterns
  • VRT
  • Vestibular rehabilitation therapy
  • Vestibulopathy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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