Physical Therapy Students Start Learning Integrated Care Early

DPT and PTA students at Oakland University in Michigan are getting a leg up together on learning how to care for patients with neurological deficits.

According to the article on the university’s web site, close to a third of all Americans suffer from neurological conditions. The OU event brought together the people who need help, and the men and women who are learning to provide that help so they could meet each other and get a broader view of what care looks like.

“’Healthcare is so much of a team effort now, whereas 25 years ago, we kind of worked in our own little silos,’ Visiting Instructor of Physical Therapy, Jacqueline Scully said. ‘We have to start getting students used to working with each other now so they’ll be ready for that when they get into the workforce.’

“She added that the experience can also dispel misconceptions students may have about what it’s like to work with patients who have neurological impairments. ‘I think it helps just being able to sit down with the patients, as well as their caretakers, and get a better understanding of who they are and what they’re going through.’”

“At the intra-professional event, students listened to patients and their spouses discuss their experiences dealing with the life-altering effects of neurological impairment – from time spent in hospitals and rehabilitation centers, to daily challenges of life at home and in the community.”

One of the spouses who participated in the program “said her husband has benefited from the therapy, both physically and emotionally. He especially enjoyed watching students learn from the experience.”

It was enlightening for both the DPT and PTA students to meet the patients and families and learn more about how neurological deficits can ripple through the entire family. Whether it’s getting out of bed, running an errand, or booking a vacation, everything is much more challenging for the patient and caregivers. And these future physical therapists can ease some of that.

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