Working with LTC residents, you can see the difference you make in their lives, student says

Four Fleming College occupational therapy assistant/physiotherapy assistant students are doing a seven-week placement at Riverview Manor. Pictured above, from left to right: Jeel Patel, Divya Patel, instructor Natasha Annette-Lawrence, Domenique Douglas and Van Tran Thi Thao.

Domenique Douglas says her Riverview Manor placement has been ‘rewarding’

PETERBOROUGH, Ont. – Fleming College occupational therapy assistant/physiotherapy assistant (OP/PT) student Domenique Douglas says one thing that has stood out for her during her placement at Riverview Manor is how quickly she and other students can make a difference in residents’ quality of life.

Domenique, who is doing a seven-week placement at the Peterborough long-term care home with three other students, cites the example of one resident in the restorative dining program who could not eat on her own. But then the students gave the resident a different utensil to eat with. The resident is now eating independently.

“She fed herself independently and was excited to be eating,” Domenique says.

The student has also completed clinic and hospital placements and says long-term care is different because she is “always learning something new about someone.”

And Riverview Manor has been a treasure trove of opportunities to build her skill sets while making a positive difference in residents’ quality of life, Domenique notes.

“I think it’s a very rewarding place to be working because many of these people do need a lot of care, so knowing that I can do something to help them gain more independence and a better quality of life is something that makes me want to be here,” she says.

Domenique also says her placement has helped her enhance her communication skills. For instance, when working with clinic or hospital patients she found most would want to participate in exercise programs.

However, long-term care residents often choose not to participate in programming – at first. Domenique says she has found that talking with residents about the importance of participating in exercise programs and explaining their impact on a person’s quality of life often causes residents to change their minds.

“My favourite part (of my placement) is just seeing how much people have improved,” she says.

For more than 10 years, students from Fleming’s occupational therapist assistant and physiotherapist assistant program have been working with residents and physiotherapists and physiotherapist assistants to build their skill sets.

By engaging with long-term care home residents, the students, who are at Riverview Manor as part of their occupational therapy placement, are working with people who have varying combinations of physical, social and cognitive needs.

The students have been doing their placement at Riverview Manor on Tuesdays and Thursdays since March 5. The students will be doing their placement at Riverview Manor until May 9.

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