DPT 810: Geriatric Physical Therapy

Class Program
Credits 3
This course introduces students to the physiologic changes of aging and the sociologic and economic consequences of an aging population. Significant time is dedicated to the natural aging process and how complicating factors such as chronic and comorbid disease processes, malnutrition and frailty can negatively impact the aging adult. Emphasis is placed on the positive and negative effects of lifestyle choices on preventing or accelerating decline in the aging process. The physical therapist's role in application of evidenced based education tools, plan of care development and appropriately graded therapeutic exercise interventions, will be a formative factor in this progression of decline or wellness. Students learn to evaluate, treat, and manage common diseases and disorders in the aging adult population. Topics range from Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease, to common types of osteoarthritis with total joint replacements, postural defects associated with osteoporosis, comprehensive fall management and neuromuscular changes in the aging adult population. Lab intensive hours are focused on the development of patient management skills related to the examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of the aging adult patient. Students will apply their knowledge and skills in the management of older persons during a concurrent clinical education experience. The general goal of this course is to enlighten student attitudes towards geriatric populations for optimal wellness promotion and advocacy in order to modify disease risk factors impacting older adult's lifespan at large.