Carroll University has received a three-year, $30,000 grant from the Stackner Family Foundation to create an Interprofessional Wellness Program that will address the needs of individuals with cognitive and physical disabilities, a largely underserved niche of the population. The foundation has generously supported health sciences initiatives at Carroll for more than a decade.
"We are grateful for the support of the Stackner Family Foundation over these many years," said Douglas N. Hastad, Carroll president. "Together, we have made a difference in the lives of people in our communities with disabilities, as well as in the education of our students as they prepare for a lifetime of service. We are excited about the possibilities of our continued partnership."
Currently, Carroll's Doctor of Physical Therapy students participate in two unique community programs. At Curative Care Network's Senior Care Center, they serve clients who have cognitive and physical disabilities and/or memory loss associated with Alzheimer's disease or dementia. About 16-20 clients participate in recreational activities, or adult play, which improves physical stamina, mobility and temporary cognitive clarity.
The Therapeutic Abilities Clinic, Carroll's free wellness clinic, serves 18 clients who do not have access to health care coverage or have exhausted their coverage for physical therapy services after a stroke, multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy. Physical activity and interventions help slow the functional decline of their disability and reduce the risks of future events.
The Stackner Family Foundation grant will help develop interprofessional programming for a holistic, collaborative and coordinated approach to health care delivery. These programs will now include students from Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies, Master of Science in Exercise Physiology clinical track, and the developing Master of Science in Occupational Therapy, anticipated to begin in 2015. Funding also will provide equipment and supplies at a new location in the university's Sentry Drive facilities, for better handicap accessibility, more privacy, and the space to serve clients and caregivers simultaneously.
"We are excited to expand these service-learning programs to include an interdisciplinary approach so that more clients, and more students, will be able to participate," said Jane Hopp, dean of the College of Natural Science, Health Science and Business. "Support from the Stackner Family Foundation will help pay for community activities, and purchase necessary resources to maintain and increase these programs."
Carroll's Therapeutic Abilities Clinic will grow to accommodate 30-36 clients and operate two or three days per week. For Memory Loss Program clients, students will develop personalized exercise and wellness programs, assist clients with their exercise programs at the Waukesha YMCA, and help integrate clients in community recreational activities.
Additionally, a new initiative will create a support program that recognizes the special needs of caregivers of those with cognitive and physical disabilities or chronic illness. Under the direction of a clinical psychologist and a faculty member, students will develop and implement monthly support services.
In each element of the new Interprofessional Wellness Program, Carroll's health science students will develop skills, gain a firsthand perspective of the special needs of an underserved population, and cultivate their commitment to working with individuals with chronic disease and disabilities.