Doctor of Physical Therapy Students Present Project Posters

News Story: December 21, 2016

Implementation of a Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire to Track Quality for Inpatient Therapy

Doctor of Physical Therapy students enrolled in Sacred Heart University’s College of Health Professions presented the results of their semester-long projects with posters recently at SHU’s Cambridge Commons.

In all, 65 third-year doctoral students worked on projects in teams of four to six and created posters for the presentation, outlining their work. The 15 posters illustrated students’ service learning clinical projects, which related to the development of health promotion or quality improvement programs at such local facilities as physical therapy clinics, hospitals, skilled nursing centers, adult day care agencies and community agencies. The project is the last hurdle for the students before they begin clinical internships, according to Donna Bowers, chair of the doctor of physical therapy program.

Bowers solicited project topics from the facilities, based on real-world needs. Then, during the fall term, students worked with the facilities to assess needs, develop programs and create ways for each facility to assess the success of those programs. A preceptor at each facility worked as a point of contact for student teams.

“We are considered the number-one physical therapy school in Connecticut. The unique feature of our program is the problem-based learning curriculum. This project work is the ultimate application of this approach,” Bowers said.

One student team, comprising Ashley Hansen, Jennifer Helft, Kelsey Lorusso and Kaitlyn Stanford, worked with Bridgeport Hospital on “Implementation of a Patient Satisfaction Questionnaire to Track Quality for Inpatient Therapy.” Lorusso explained, “We worked with the director of inpatient rehab to develop a paper-based survey determining such criteria as satisfaction with services, post-treatment confidence and involvement with decisions about their therapy care. A hospital volunteer will collect the surveys and enter the feedback in an Excel report to share with various hospital departments—therapy, orthopedic and medical/surgical—for program improvement. The survey justifies services and ensures quality of care.”

Members of another student team—Lori McGovern, Kristin Murray, Lany Wenke and Brian Wadsworth—developed a “blueprint” for a wellness program for post-stroke patients that will be conducted at Sacred Heart. Bowers described it as one many programs that will be part of SHU’s planned Center of Excellence for Neurological Health in the University’s College of Health Professions. “Essentially, the plan is for patients to visit the University post-stroke, ideally once a week, to work with students in station-to-station circuit training. Students will do pre- and post-assessment,” Murray said. “This will give students hands-on experience and the ability to apply classroom learning. The program will help in data collection, too, for future studies and application.”

Viewing the posters with SHU faculty were representatives from some of the facilities, such as Denise Henry, associate executive director of SARAH, Inc., an agency devoted to helping children from birth to age 3 and adults with intellectual disabilities. “We partnered with Sacred Heart students this fall and worked together to develop physical therapy safety training protocols for our staff. It was a great partnership, as the students needed the experience and we needed the training curriculum. The resulting product has enhanced our safety practices so that people we serve are safer and we have a lower rate of staff injuries,” Henry said.

To view photos from various poster sessions this semester, click here.