On the 21st February 2019, pharmacy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy students came together for a one day inter-professional symposium on falls. The day started with an engaging and informative keynote speech from Dr Colin Mitchell, Consultant in Geriatric Medicine at St. Mary’s Hospital, Imperial College NHS Healthcare Trust. This was followed by expert patients sharing their experience of falls and the impact falls have had on their quality of life.
The students then split into small groups to complete video cased based learning and simulation activities. For the simulation activities students wore visual impairment glasses and attempted to read and complete a NHS menu choice form, then read the label on a box of medicine and the patient information leaflet inside. Students (in pairs – one wearing the visual impairment glasses and ear plugs and one as a safety guide) then walked around the Palmer building and the quad, identifying and reflecting on any hazards and difficulties experienced.
Students then put on bariatric and elderly simulation suits. Students began by lying on the floor, as though they had fallen, and attempted to get back up. Once up, the students complete a series of physiotherapy rehabilitation tasks. The simulation suits made all these tasks more challenging for students, in particular struggling to get up off the floor and tiring quicker.
The feedback from students was very positive. For the simulation activities, they stated they enjoyed putting themselves in the patients’ eyes/body and they have a much better appreciation of the challenges patients face. They also identified ways as healthcare professionals they could make changes to help these patients e.g. reading out the menu choices, large-print labels for medicines and modifying physiotherapy exercises.
Catherine Langran, Lecturer, School of Pharmacy firstname.lastname@example.org