The Monday Memo
October 17, 2016 PITT DPT STUDENTS
Physical Therapy Day of Service
Physical Therapy Day of Service is a national project where physical therapists and physical therapy students provide services to the community with a project of their choice. This year, the University of Pittsburgh third year students organized their Physical Therapy Day of Service event at Schenley Gardens Senior Living Community in Oakland. On October 14th, we provided education to 15 residents at the senior community center. The focus of the education was on proper nutrition as we age, fall prevention, and how to setup your room for safety.
During the nutrition section, we talked about the importance of the choices senior citizens make at each meal and how they can impact their health and well-being. The residents reported that their breakfasts ranged from oatmeal and fruit to nothing at all. We discussed ways to take small steps towards improving diet, such as creating a meal log, removing the saltshaker from your table, or choosing water over a sugary drink instead.
Next, the fall prevention group asked the residents how many of them had fallen in recent years and 10 out of 13 residents raised their hands. We discussed the contributing factors to falls, such as medication changes, sensory, strength and vision deficits, and proper use of their assistive device. The residents described their silver sneakers exercise program and asked questions about the benefits of the specific exercises they were performing.
Students in the last group communicated the significance of setting up your room for safety. Since the residents were in the independent living section and had set up their own apartments, each one was unique. The students talked about having a light close to the bed or a lighted path to the bathroom, placing important items on lower shelves within arms reach, and getting rid of throw rugs, which tend to increase fall risk. The residents reported problems that they have been experiencing in their apartments and asked for help coming up with solutions. One man discussed how when he stood up to get dressed in the morning, he would get dizzy and lose his balance. We urged him to tell the nursing staff about this and to try to keep a chair close by to get dressed in. At the end of the session, one student performed a 5x sit to stand test on another student, interpreted the results, and educated the seniors on how a decrease in strength in the lower extremities can increase their risk of falling in the future.
All in all, the experience was a success for both the third year class and the Senior Living Community citizens who attended. The end of the session was spent in open discussion to allow the residents to voice any final questions or concerns that they had. Many of the residents were so pleased with the seminar that they asked when we would be coming back and even suggested having a Zumba or dance session in the future!
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Social Media Updates
- #DPTstudent – WEDNESDAYS , 9-10pm EST! Check out #DPTstudent page for details!
- Unite Physical Therapy Students – If you haven’t yet, please check out the “Doctor of Physical Therapy Students” Facebook page. More than 9,500 students have already joined!
- Our own page! Pitt Physical Therapy, thanks to the Social Media Team, has created an official PittPT Facebook page!
- #SolvePT (meets on Tuesdays Twitter from 9-10pm EST)