Monday, May 12, 2014

Lung Life Support Group Visit to Physiotherapy Students at the University of Canberra

Ten volunteers with respiratory conditions visited the physiotherapy students at the University of Canberra. Pam, Maddie, Judy, Val and Jan attended the morning session while Pam G, Brian, Win and Helen R attended in the afternoon. Students met us in the car park and escorted us upstairs. One of them even parked Pam’s car so she wouldn’t have to walk so far!

In the students’ room we were greeted by a spread of homemade goodies – brownies, delicious muffins, homemade hot cross buns, banana bread and melting moments (just like Mum made!). We were waited on, hand and foot and then launched into the reason for our attendance. 

The educational side of the encounter meant:

  • numerous questions relating to our lung conditions - asked and answers recorded
  • stethoscopes came out and our lungs performed on cue, some more noisily than others. 
  • some of us had our lungs tested with a spirometer
  • blood pressure was taken before and after exercise
  • oxygen saturation levels were  measured and of course there was
  • time for just socialising.

Then it was out into the corridor for a six minute walk, our exercise for the day. Not all of us managed this but we tried because there was no pressure to perform.

Feedback from the students lets us know how pleased they are that we come. They see for themselves, how the chronic condition limits us and how the limitations are different in each person. The Physio students realise this knowledge is so valuable for their later work. They showed their appreciation by presenting the participants with a huge tin of chocolates. This in turn was most appreciated.

This is a very worthwhile activity. The students report that it’s very helpful for them to interact with patients, each with their individual problems and at different points in their condition. As well as the day being a most enjoyable and satisfying experience we’re able to help these professionals of the future.

Let’s plan to do our bit for the physios of the future.

Pam Harris, Chris Moyle and Helen Reynolds
Canberra Lung Life Support Group