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Masters of Physical Therapy students Sitha Soung (L) and Caleb Smith (R) participated in the Falls Prevention Clinic.

Preventing Falls: Rady Faculty students participate in IP clinic

June 2, 2016 — 

A new inter-professional clinic that specializes in preventing injuries resulting from falls has recruited the help of two University of Manitoba Masters of Physical Therapy (MPT) students from the College of Rehabilitation Sciences in the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences.

Caleb Smith, a second year MPT student, and Sitha Soung, who is in the first year of the MPT program, participated in the Falls Prevention Clinic at ACCESS Winnipeg West, a clinic adjacent to Grace Hospital that provides health and social services to the community. The clinic occurs once in May and again in June.

The Falls Prevention Clinic provides older adults a chance to be assessed by a variety of health care practitioners in one location.

“It’s like speed dating for fall prevention,” says Smith. “They will see a nurse, a pharmacist, an occupational therapist, a physiotherapist and we would all do our respective fields and scopes on that person to assess fall risk and at the end they will have a debrief with one of the registered nurses to summarize everything.”

For both students, the clinic gave them an opportunity to utilize many of the skills they’ve been learning in the classroom.

“For the most part we used our outcome measures – a balance test, a step test – to see if there was a risk of falls,” says Smith.

“We did a lot of motivational interviewing as well,” says Soung. “We tried to identify barriers and discuss why those barriers are there and how they can be overcome. I thought that was a big part of the experience.”

The students also answered questions about physical therapy and provided referrals to different public health care providers as well as providing other services like measuring canes to ensure they’re the right size for the user.

As the population ages, Smith sees a greater need for these kinds of clinics.

“For me the biggest thing was seeing what outcome measures can be used to assess fall prevention,” Smith says.  “Whatever field you’re working in, there’s going to be a large number of older adults that you’re going to be seeing in your practice so fall prevention is something to talk about with patients.”

As future health care providers, the Falls Prevention Clinic gives students an insight on how to integrate a multifaceted, inter-professional approach into their practice.

“The biggest thing for me was being able to work in an interdisciplinary setting like that,” says Soung. “I was able to follow one patient around their circuit of the clinic and it was interesting to see different perspectives and different approaches and specialties being applied to one patient.”

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