Health Care Students Collaborate for Intellectually Disabled Patients

Published on: 2010/09/30 - in Releases

Queens’ University is taking the lead in helping health care students learn to collaboratively serve patients or clients with intellectual disabilities.

Roughly 400 students from medicine, nursing, psychology, occupational therapy and physical therapy are coming together to explore the unique factors of dealing with these patients.

“There is a clear need for the enhanced training we deliver. While people with intellectual disabilities represent one to three per cent of the population, they are a very vulnerable group often with complex health care needs,” says speech-language pathologist Carol Martin, head of an organizing group of a dozen faculty members and staff specialists who have been running different versions of this event since 2007.

The health care students will get a chance to practice their interview skills with roughly 40 adult volunteers with intellectual disabilities from H’Art School and Community Living Kingston.

“They feel it is important to participate and help educate the next generation of health care workers. We couldn’t agree more,” says Ms Martin.

Inter-professional Intellectual Disability Education Day puts future medical professionals of all fields together in one room and encourages better co-operation. Students are assigned to groups of seven and disciplines are mixed to encourage everyone to work together and learn about other health care disciplines and the strengths that each can contribute to the care of patients. Each student group also benefits by having the volunteers with intellectual disabilities share in the experience.

“Given the positive feedback we have received in the years we’ve offered this novel training, it’s a wonder we didn’t develop it sooner,” says Ms Martin.

Collaborative training of the country’s health care students is expected to have many positive impacts especially in patient care outcomes, better understood roles and responsibilities among health care workers, and the job satisfaction of the future professionals involved.