Integrating Students as Part of the Service Delivery Model in a Care Home.

Our 36 residents at Casa Mia are fabulous and all want to be active and engaged. Many need support to achieve this and there is only one OT and one Therapy Support Worker. We work very hard but with two of us we can only meet so many peoples’ needs each day. We have shoppers, swimmers, fishermen, people wanting to cook and people who need support to follow breathing exercises or exercise programmes, people needing equipment and people wanting to chat.

Bring in our team of Worcester University OT and Physio students and what we have is a far greater opportunity to keep far more residents fit and healthy and supported on a daily basis. We have a team! We take up to six students per placement and this enables more than 8 1:1 resident sessions per day (often seeing a number of residents on each - 8x4 sessions is 32 interventions per day!)   
Working with residents in the garden

I have enjoyed getting to know the residents and working 1 to 1 with them to participate in their meaningful daily occupations as well as the variety of activities available to plan and take part in. I have also been part of setting up group interventions, such as a gardening group that runs weekly.I have been able to contribute to MDT meetings with the wider group of professionals and observe the mental health act legislation in practice, such as attending meeting regarding deprivation of liberties and community treatment orders. ” 

Ellie, 2nd year Occupational Therapy student
Fun ways to improve kitchen skills
Fun ways to improve kitchen skills
It means big, fun, interactive group sessions from Pulmonary Rehab to Falls groups (might have been delivered as beach volleyball!!) And no one escapes karaoke (Physiotherapy benefits - must improve lung function!!). Singing skills not essential! It means loads of peer support to help you support residents attend sessions and a great atmosphere. It means joint OT and Physio working in Falls prevention and COPD management.  
2 people singing
Pulmonary Rehab Karaoke

This placement allows students the opportunities to be creative, link research to practice and work within a supportive team. This supportive environment allows students to build their confidence via nurturing students strengths and addressing weakness at a pace that is comfortable for the student. This placement gives opportunities to run and organise groups sessions, cooking, crafts and so much more, helping explore and understand different frames of references and research for improving professional reasoning skills, and provide justification for intervention in practice.

Paula, 2nd year Occupational Therapy student
Outdoor activity
Students leading outdoor activities

“The placement offers opportunities to build communication skills as well as using standardised outcome measures and assessments such as MOHO. I felt very supported by the Practice Educator as well as other staff members and the achievement of Learning Outcomes was discussed very clearly in the induction week. I was also impressed by the variety of activities offered to clients and the individual level of independence offered dependent on their unique needs and preferences. I have also enjoyed the personal atmosphere and peer-support from fellow students as well as trips into the community. Great learning experience!”

Lena, 2nd year Occupational Therapy student
Learning vital money management skills
Multiple students means an hour of supervision, each, per week but that is possible due to the workload being shared and all your residents being supported by our students. It means students taking turns to lead sessions and lead student planning meetings. It means developing confidence in working independently and as part of a team. Placements are three times per year but with the opportunity to take summer students and now the MSc students between these placements we can maintain a regular programme of intervention and group sessions. 
two people wearing masks
Supportive rapport building means that many students don’t want to leave!

“My experience as a physiotherapy student was a very positive one, as it allowed me to get really creative with my treatment plans which best suited the needs of the residents. As I had Claire as an educator it provided me with a brilliant opportunity to learn from her as an occupational therapist and provided me with an important MDT collaborative mindset which I can take forward for my future career. Working with residents with varying mental health conditions, it gave me a great insight to how closely linked mental and physical health are and how crucial physiotherapy can be for this patient group. All the team and residents were a joy to work with and I would go back in a heartbeat!”

Jess, 3rd year Physiotherapy student
Social interaction is the heart of Casa Mia

Casa Mia allows students to not only develop the skills of assessment and interventions, but also develops communication, teamwork and planning. It is full of fun and exciting interventions and activities for students to get creative with – from Kareoke to pumpkin carving! With such a kind and co-operative team, including the residents who live there, Casa Mia is a comfortable and well supported placement where confidence can grow.

Terri, 3rd year Occupational Therapy student
4 people in a room
The student hub allows space for thinking, planning, researching and collaborating.
Our students update electronic student handovers, provide virtual handovers to the next cohort of students and have written and updated an electronic welcome pack for students. Casa Mia residents, staff and families love our students and the difference they make to our service delivery. Whilst the thought of sharing your placement with others may be daunting at first, our student feedback thoroughly supports this model of delivery.  

Casa Mia has been a fantastic first placement, there are lots of opportunities to learn and it is so rewarding to see the positive impact our activities have on the residents

Sarah, 1st year Occupational Therapy student

Read more about what our (many) students say about their Casa Mia experience in our follow-up post here

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