The Importance of the Guest Healthcare
by Patti League, A Matter of Balance Lead Trainer
The Guest Healthcare Professional (GHP) visit serves as the healthcare connection for the Matter of Balance Lay Leader Model, and is one of the core elements to maintain fidelity to the program. The GHP (such as a physical therapist, occupational therapist or registered nurse) is invited to attend one Matter of Balance class session for an hour to provide information and answer questions about reducing fall risks. They review such things as how to get up and down from the floor safely; how to get out of bed or up from a chair more easily; and how to go up and down stairs. They also discuss the use of assistive devices and home and community safety.
The GHP visit works well in the Matter of Balance class Session 4 or 7. The Guest Healthcare Professional Handbook includes the following Session 4 and 7 Activities, which provide a framework for the GHP presentation and sets the stage for useful discussions:
- Session 4, Activity 4.3 (Risk Factors for Falls) and 4.5 (Weakness and Balance Problems)
- Session 7, Activity 7.7(Discussion of Falls) and 7.8 (Discussion of Fall Experiences)
The Handbook also contains Handout 7.3: How to get up from the floor. Regardless of which session the GHP attends, he or she should provide a demonstration of Handout 7.3.
The GHP should present information that is pertinent to their profession. For example, a physical therapist may talk about assistive devices, getting in and out of a car, and negotiating stairs. An occupational therapist may talk more about accommodations for Activities of Daily Living and strategies for home safety. A registered nurse may talk about medications or orthostatic hypotension. All could address emergency response systems.
The GHP's visit to the class is a true highlight for participants and complements the coaches, who often maintain a list of questions from participants to ask during the visit. The Frequently Asked Questions that are included in the Handbook can also help to prepare the GHP for questions that MOB class participants might have.
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