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Enhancing primary care educational
The School of Physiotherapy increased
the number of primary care placements
during the year in recognition of the
increasing need for the delivery of health
care in the community setting. Most
students now complete placements in
both primary and acute care settings,
ensuring they gain exposure to the
full range of the patient journey. An
innovative project was initiated in the
delivery of primary care exercise classes,
which involved integrating acute and
primary care clinical placements where
physiotherapy students delivered a
Falls Management Exercise (FaME)
programme in the primary care setting.
The exercise class opportunity was
identified and aligned to an acute
hospital setting. Primary care hours
were incorporated into the practice
education schedule. Second and final
year physiotherapy students attended 30
hours of exercise instruction, participating
in one class per week, for the duration
of the 20-week FaME programme.
Students worked alongside clinicians in
implementing strength and endurance-
based programmes for the cohort of
245 patients. A formal evaluation of this
initiative is planned shortly.
New Clinical Skills Workshop
In response to the need for physiotherapy
students to understand certain complex
respiratory technical skills for their
second year clinical placements, a
new college-based skills workshop has
been implemented for second year
physiotherapy students on respiratory
placements. Workshops are run with small
groups of students and four key technical
skills are covered: suctioning, manual
hyperinflation, saline instillation and
broncho-alveolar lavage. This initiative is
intended to improve students' ability to
participate in the management of acutely
unwell patients in the intensive care
unit during clinical placement. Informal
feedback to date has been positive and
further evaluation is planned to assess
the level of objective improvement in
observed performance on placement.
Clinical collaborations have been
developed by the School of
Physiotherapy with a range of hospital
sites including Temple Street Hospital,
Louth County Hospital, Rotunda Hospital,
Primary Care Areas 6,7,8, Portiuncula
Hospital and the Royal victoria Eye and
Ear Hospital.
Research activity
Research is a fundamental part of
contemporary physiotherapy clinical
practice and research funding was
awarded to the School of Physiotherapy
by the following funding agencies:
Research Motor Neuron Disease;
Irish Research Council;
Health Research Board;
National Disability Authority; and,
Irish gerontological Society
In total, 17 research articles have
been published and 32 oral/poster
presentations were made in the
course of the year. Research was
presented at national and international
conferences, including the European
Stroke Conference (Nice, France), the
European Polio Conference, European
Society of Movement Analysis in Adults
and Children, the Barany Conference
(Argentina) and the Osteoarthritis
Research Society International
Conference (France).
The School of Physiotherapy engaged
in several noteworthy research
with Beaumont Hospital in the clinical
areas of respiratory medicine, stroke
medicine, musculoskeletal, neurology
and medicine for the elderly;
with Connolly Hospital in the clinical
areas of musculoskeletal disorders;
with the gait Laboratory in the Central
Remedial Clinic on a number of
projects investigating balance, upper
limb movement and gait disorders in
children with cerebral palsy; and,
with the computing and electronic
engineering departments at DCU
the school of physiotherapy's five-year strategic plan for 2014 to 2018 was
presented to the faculty of medicine and health sciences board in may 2014,
signaling the advent of a new phase in the development of the school and in
the evolution of its primary objective to educate professionally safe, competent,
reflective and analytical physiotherapists.
Professor Marie guidon
Head of the School of Physiotherapy