Multi-Generational Teamwork Proves Valuable Antidote to Burnout and Fall Risk
Purpose: The purpose of this poster presentation is to demonstrate how multi-generational teams can work together to create and offer a service learning project with four aims: 1. Train DPT students to be class leaders of an evidence-based fall prevention program. 2. Provide the program at a local senior center to minimize falls in older adults, 3. Facilitate faculty mentorship of students as they deliver fall prevention education and exercise instruction, and 4. Utilize empathy and engagement in a multi-generational learning environment to mitigate faculty burnout. Methods/Description: Faculty and students from the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas teamed up to provide Stepping On Fall Prevention Classes in our community. To initiate such a program, it was necessary to connect with available community resources which included aspects regarding set-up, training, and implementation. A partnership was formed between the university and a local senior center connected to many interested older adults. Seven weekly 2-hour classes were held in the fall of 2018 with a focus on performing exercises to increase muscle strength and improve balance and receiving education to decrease fall risk. A 3-month booster session was offered to highlight positive changes, review key concepts covered throughout the program and encourage sustained fall prevention strategies. Phone calls were made to follow up with participant progress and remind them of the booster session. Results/Outcomes: Out of 14 initial participants, 12 participants completed the program with 9 attending the booster session. While no falls were reported during the program, two falls without injuries were reported at the booster session. Group discussion initiated good reflection of the cause of these falls and triggered implementation of sustainable prevention measures. The faculty was invigorated from the dynamic engagement with students and older adult participants in a community atmosphere more resembling a clinic than a classroom. Each class revitalized faculty’s confidence and passion offering a balance to the stresses of course design and classroom management. The students benefited from mentored experience of instructing exercises and facilitating group discussion centered around problem solving. They demonstrated improvement in both presentation skills and confidence guiding older adults through exercises. Conclusions/Relevance to the conference theme: As the number of DPT programs continues to grow, more clinical specialists are entering academia. Leaving behind the comfort of daily patient care, they are faced with new teaching responsibilities and an expectation to mentor student service-learning projects without an awareness of worthwhile opportunities. The presented framework offers guidance on the identification and implementation of evidence-based programs that create valuable student projects. The multi-generational and interdisciplinary nature of an experience such as Stepping On ensures that all involved gain fresh perspectives and new knowledge that reduce the effect of the daily strains and stresses by increasing understanding of one anothers’ journeys.