ELC’s Clinical team experience elderliness first-hand

Our clinical team recently got to experience first-hand the impairments experienced by older people by taking part in GERT Suit Age Simulation Training which was delivered by ECL physiotherapists Sinead Fenton and Fiona Storkey.

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A GERT Suit is an age simulation suit that consists of a weighted vest, weighted arms and legs and restricted joints, with the additional sensory impairments of hands, ears and eyes simulated by special gloves, ear defenders and goggles. It’s designed to help clinicians further understand the physical condition of the elderly.

The 10 participants from our clinical team also got to try a specialist set of eye wear to emulate different types of visual impairment experience by older people such as macular degeneration, glaucoma and retinopathy. Feedback from the training was very positive, our team said that the GERT Suit helped them to further empathise and understand the physical limitations caused by conditions common among our older customers.

Jenny Whittaker, ECL Clinical Lead said: “It really was a great session, all of our ECL clinicians that attended agreed that this course gave valuable insight into the difficulties experienced by the customers we support on a daily basis, and that this in turn would enable improved person-centred care.

“There is strong evidence to support the effectiveness of GERT Suit training. A study carried out at the Julius-Maximilian University of Würzburg (Dr. med. S.A. Filz, Dr. med. W. Swoboda et al.) revealed that 95% of participants in such training reported increased understanding of the physical condition of an elderly person, and 90% of participants were more effectively able to put themselves in the situation of an elderly person.”

There are plans to pilot the delivery of this training to Therapy Assistants and Trusted assessors in Regulated services and to care staff working in day services at ECL Colchester - Marylands.

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