Fleming College students modify neck brace to help Riverview resident with Parkinson’s

Fleming College instructor Jeanette Boersma (standing, far left) is seen here with some of her occupational therapy students and physiotherapist assistant Jody Harris.

This is just one example of the benefits students bring to residents through placement partnership

PETERBOROUGH, Ont. – A group of Fleming College occupational therapy students and their instructor recently modified a neck brace for a Riverview Manor resident affected by Parkinson’s disease who was having difficulty keeping her head up while walking.

As a result, the resident can now walk with her head up and see people while walking the Peterborough long-term care home’s hallways. This is something that was important to the resident, so the students and their instructor, Jeanette Boersma, wanted to do something to help.

“(The resident) really liked (the neck brace) because she was able to see people when she was walking down the hall, and she was able to see where she was going, and she was able to walk further than she could otherwise,” Jeanette tells The OMNIway.

This is just one of the success stories Fleming College occupational therapist assistant and physiotherapist assistant students have brought to Riverview Manor residents over the past decade since the student placement program was created.

Many residents require therapy to regain and maintain their strength, so the work the students are doing also enhances the quality of life for residents, Jeanette notes.

One of the things Riverview Manor residents enjoy most about the partnership is that students run occupational-therapy-related groups as well as activity groups, such as sensory stimulation groups, cognitive skill groups and even baking groups, Jeanette says.

“The residents always really enjoy working with the students,” she says. “The students always put smiles on the residents’ faces because the students are always very positive and are fun to be around, so the residents really respond to that.”

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