University of Michigan-Flint Physical Therapy (PT) students recently held mini assessment clinics at the Davison Area Senior Center. The students participated in two seperate assessments that included checking flexibility, strength, fall risk, blood pressure, and educated the seniors about certain aspects of their current health.
Using the senior volunteers at the center allows the second year PT students to apply what they have learned in class as well as the physical therapy curriculum to a specific group, such as the geriatric client.
“It’s great to get out of the classroom and apply our knowledge to real people in a real setting,” said PT student Ryan Reaver. “We help the people we are working with, when our assessment may find something that leads us to suggest they seek further professional help.”
‘The students have the opportunity to interact with a geriatric person (65+), and they do an evaluation, and apply concepts learned in the class,” said Jennifer Blackwood, Instructor and Coordinator of the Geriatric Post Professional Certificate Program. “Additionally, it gives them practice in their clinical assessment skills as close communication.”
“We learn a variety of tests that we can give people, but actually interpreting the results of these tests gives a better understanding of why they are important,” said student Katie Temple.
“This is not only a chance to practice what we learned, but a wonderful opportunity to work on our communication skills,” said student Amber Joubran.
Blackwood wants her students to not only be able to assess a person that has a known disease or disability, but rather those that are community dwelling older adults that potentially don’t have an impairment that would warrant active physical therapy intervention. Another benefit that she sees is that the students will be able to identify persons both at risk and with undiagnosed deficits such as balance impairment, and strength limitation.