Student collab enhances patient care

19 Jul, 2019
 
Dr Brenda Flood

AUT Integrated Health (AIH) provides primary healthcare, specialised services and programmes for the community.

It is also a learning environment for Bachelor of Health Science students at AUT North Campus.

AIH clinical manager, Dr Brenda Flood, says AUT has a strong focus on interprofessional education and collaborative care, where members of different professions learn together and work together to care for patients.

“Traditionally, health professionals are educated in silos and go on to practice in the same way. If we want to change the healthcare system, we have to change the way that we teach,” says Dr Flood.

“Once people begin to work together in a collaborative manner, patient care will improve.”

Quite simply, it’s about connecting otherwise separate parts of the healthcare system to create better outcomes, improve customer service, reduce medical errors and lower costs.

AIH offers a range of cost-effective, high-quality interprofessional programmes, including ‘Living with Type 2 Diabetes’.

The six-week course combines group-learning and interprofessional care. Clients with diabetes come together to share their experiences and work with a team of undergraduate and postgraduate students from different health disciplines, including nutrition, psychology, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, podiatry, nursing and oral health.

The students develop individualised care plans with their clients, under the supervision of clinical experts.

Evidence shows that collaborative care, in which the patient’s whole health and wellbeing is considered, leads to the best health outcomes.

The feedback from clients has been phenomenal, says Dr Flood.

“The majority of our clients felt that they were treated as individuals – that they were listened to and their concerns were addressed. They all went away having learned from one another and our students,” she says.

Other interprofessional programmes and group-based activities include ‘Living with Parkinson’s Disease’, cardio-pulmonary rehabilitation, neurofit, adaptive yoga, tai chi and hydrotherapy.

AIH is also about to launch a high-risk foot clinic in collaboration with Waitemata District Health Board, where students shadow and support podiatrists working with clients who have complex and severe conditions.

AIH is open to everyone in the community, with or without a GP referral.