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Student placement program commenced this week

Allied health students from the University of South Australia began field practice placements at several Eldercare residential care facilities this week.

Eldercare Wellbeing and Allied Health Manager Bernard Morrison said both students and residents have the potential to benefit greatly from the placement program.

“Employment opportunities for allied health professionals in aged care will dramatically increase in the near future so these placements will give students the opportunity to gain practical experience in their chosen field as well as valuable ‘real world’ exposure to the sector,” said Bernard.

“With assistance from students, Eldercare will be able to create new or refine existing services that enhance resident wellbeing and align closely with our ‘mind, body, spirit’ approach.

“Fourth-year Physiotherapy students, for example, will be supported by experienced Eldercare staff to provide rehabilitation services to residents within their own living environments to save them having to travel to an external specialist for treatment.”

Physiotherapy students will also supervise group gym classes, create an in-house resource for exercise-based programs and provide feedback on Eldercare’s manual handling training to maximise resident and staff safety.

Bernard said Occupational Therapy students will lead Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST) groups for residents with mild to moderate dementia across seven Eldercare residential care facilities including The Lodge at Wayville and Sash Ferguson at Mount Barker.

“Whilst conducting CST, the students will aim to better understand how each resident communicates and use this information to improve social connection,” said Bernard.

“Students will be delivering CST sessions in small group formats over a 10-week period and session themes include word association, number games, creative exercises and food.

“We’re very much looking forward to seeing how CST can benefit our residents because the evidence suggests it can have a positive impact on cognition, quality of life and wellbeing.”

Eldercare’s student placement program with the University of South Australia is expected to continue throughout 2019.

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