The Belmont University School of Physical Therapy recently hosted two health professionals from Istituto Prosperius Tiberino, a 75-bed rehabilitation hospital in Umbria, Italy. Since 2012, nine Belmont physical therapy students have completed a clinical affiliation at the hospital, and three more students are scheduled for an eight-week clinical affiliation during the spring of 2015.
Istituto Prosperius provides both inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation for patients with neurological and orthopedic disorders and injuries in a team model of care which includes physicians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech/language pathologists, nurses, art therapists, psychologists and social workers. The Istituto staff conducts ongoing research projects and pilots technological devices for the rehabilitation of neurological patients. The hospital serves as one of leading centers in Italy using robotic therapy to assist in ambulation for patients with spinal cord injuries. The facility also houses two large therapy pools for patients, one equipped with underwater steppers and treadmills.
Dr. Paolo Milia, Chair of the Department of Neurology and Neuro-rehabilitation Research at Istituto Prosperius, and Mike Arnall, a physical therapist and President of Eduglobal Associates, visited Belmont. Milia completed his medical degree at G. D’Annunzio University in Chieti, Italy, and earned a PhD in neurological research from the University of Perugia in Italy. Arnall founded Eduglobal in 2006 when he began developing clinical education opportunities for American physical therapy students. His company coordinates the selection, placement, orientation and evaluation of the physical therapy students with the numerous Italian clinical instructors on staff. Last year, 41 PT students completed clinical affiliations. Currently, 31 U.S. physical therapy programs have contracts with Eduglobal.
During the visit, Milia and Arnall gave a presentation to physical therapy and occupational therapy faculty and students about Istituto Prosperius, his typical caseload and robotic therapy research projects. The presentation included videos of patients using the Eksoskeleton. They met with Schools of Occupational Therapy, Nursing and Pharmacy to explore the possibility of students from those programs affiliating at the rehabilitation hospital in the future. Meetings were also scheduled with community partners to explore expanded roles and partnerships including Pi Beta Phi Rehabilitation Institute at the Vanderbilt Bill Wilkerson Center and Vanderbilt Stallworth Rehabilitation Hospital.
The Inman Health Sciences Building became a workshop and playground on Thursday as part of an international project to promote pediatric mobility. University of Delaware physical therapy professor Cole Galloway and his Pediatric Mobility Lab and Design Studio bought to Belmont Go Baby Go, a program that teaches adults how to modify existing toy cars in a few hours to make them functional for children with disabilities.
Eight families and their therapists from Tennessee, Kentucky and Georgia worked alongside Belmont occupational therapy and physical therapy students and alumni to learn how to modify toys and the logistics of the Go Baby Go program. Together, they altered Fisher Price Lightning McQueen red cars with Velcro, PVC pipes, pool noodles and kickboards to create wheelchair-like toys. The cars also function as physical therapy devices to teach strength and balance while allowing the disabled children to socialize with other children their age. Through constraint-induced therapy, the children are motivated to use their weaker muscles to gain independence and operate the toys, which by nature are fun. Buttons were moved so that the toy car moves only when a girl with cerebral palsy holds her head up or a boy with a spinal cord injury stands.
For 1-year-old Paisley Queen, she must engage her weak right hand to move her toy car. She suffered an intrauterine stroke and does not use the right side of her body.
“Hopefully, the car will make her more mobile and force her to use her right arm and eventually her right leg and catch her up with her peers who are crawling and starting to walk. That will be a benefit to us,” said her mom Laura Queen, of Mount Juliet, Tennessee. (more…)
Occupational and physical therapy students took their classroom learning outside during a community service project on Tuesday. During Wash and Roll, dozens of wheelchair users had their power chairs cleaned and serviced free-of-charge by students and faculty from Belmont’s Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy programs and local equipment dealers.
“This collaboration of physical therapy and occupational therapy was to get students involved in community service with an underserved population. Because once they get a wheelchair from insurance, they can get serviced once a year, but it is difficult to find place to get it done,” said Occupational Therapy Assistant Professor Teresa Plummer. “No one just cleans and services chairs, so families of people with medical disability have to do it on their own.”
The service is so rare that Barbara Pierce drove her husband, Marion, 90 miles from Winchester, Tenn. to Belmont’s campus to have his five-year-old wheelchair evaluated and cleaned.
Ms. Wheelchair America 2014 Jennifer Adams spoke to occupational therapy students about the “Inclusion Revolution” on Tuesday. The event was sponsored by the Belmont Student Occupational Therapy Association.
Adams is a successful 33-year-old businesswoman from Tacoma, Wash. She was born with partial limbs and has used a wheelchair her whole life. She grew up in a family of eight children after being adopted along with five of her siblings, all who had either Down syndrome or cerebral palsy.
“I believe that really set me up to grow up into the world with a view of diversity and to accept people from the inside first,” Adams said. “I attribute a lot to my parents.” Her adopted mother, Jeanne, is a family doctor in Chehalis, Wash.
The teasing she experienced in her youth led Adams to seek out ways to tell her story. For 17 years, she has been motivating others with her positive message. “We all have limitations,” said Adams in a recent interview with her hometown newspaper, The News Tribune, “but if you press beyond your limitations, that’s where fulfillment and life’s purpose lies.”
A radiant, high energy spokeswoman, Adams has experienced barriers to her passion in the mainstream art world due to her disability, but her goal is to encourage people to take their gifts and talents out into the world to break down barriers of discrimination. “When people with disabilities show the world our talents,” she says, “disabilities dissolve and abilities shine forth.”
Students in BSOTA are doctoral level students at Belmont in the School of Occupational Therapy, part of the Gordon E. Inman College of Health Sciences & Nursing.
The Memorial Foundation has awarded Belmont University $300,000 to upgrade high-fidelity simulation equipment, support interprofessional training in the College of Health Sciences & Nursing and fund a post-graduate Healthcare Simulation Fellowship. Belmont has appointed Dr. Gwenn Randall as the college’s first fellow.
“We are grateful to the Memorial Foundation for this generous gift that will enable us to markedly increase the impact of our clinical simulation program. In addition to creating exciting new clinical experiences for both students and community providers, with this funding we will create new ways of educating future leaders in this emerging field,” said College of Health Sciences & Nursing Dean Cathy R. Taylor.
The University’s advanced patient simulators allow students to experience the health care profession’s daily challenges in a controlled environment. Computerized mannequins exhibit real patient symptoms and respond accordingly to treatment provided by caregivers, based on programmed scenarios. The use of simulation allows individuals preparing for health care professions to practice treatments and learn technique through simulation before treating actual patients. The University used a portion of the Memorial Foundation grant to purchase a highly specialized obstetrical mannequin that will be used to train nursing students and community partners to respond to high risk obstetric emergencies.
“A program in health care professional training in simulation meets a need in the industry, appeals to professionals who want a unique and growing career and is attractive to teaching institutions who want to become involved or expand simulation,” said Dr. Beth Hallmark, director of simulation. (more…)