Physiotherapists tell all

07 October 2002

Physiotherapy students (2nd left to right) Debbie Lipschitz, Michelle Saunders, Stephanie Pursell, Sameer Rahim, group supervisor Janeen McPhillips and Kate Finlayson, here with Head of Department Associate Prof Dele Amosun (far left), with the trophy they won at the Division of Physiotherapy's final-year research presentations.

A GROUP of five physiotherapy students, looking at the education provided for homebound stroke patients and their caregivers, took top honours at the Division of Physiotherapy's annual presentation of final-year research projects.

Kate Finlayson, Debbie Lipshitz, Stephanie Pursell, Sameer Rahim and Michelle Saunders, working under the supervision of lecturer Janeen McPhillips, won the award for best presentation at the gathering.

They did so for their project, "An investigation into Discharge Education" given by allied health professionals to stroke patients and their caregivers on initial discharge from acute hospitals in the Cape Metropole.

In their study, the five looked at whether, first of all, health care professionals did provide any education to patients and their caregivers, and then analysed the content and scope of the education that was given.

According to their report, shortened periods of hospitalisation for stroke victims has led to an increase in homecare, and an urgent need for comprehensive education. “Research has shown that patients and caregivers are dissatisfied with the education they get,” observes Pursell. “We wanted to see what the therapists are doing, and why the patients and caregivers are dissatisfied with them.”

According to Elize van Zyl, a practising physiotherapist who lectures at UCT and who served as one of the two judges, the group's study was particularly relevant considering the current financial straits of the health care sector. Second adjudicator, Dr Jim te Water Naudé of the UCT Department of Public Health, pointed out that the team's research was unique in that it also focused on the needs of the caregivers.

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