Combining community services with clinical assessment experience
Every year University of Huddersfield staff and students work in partnership with external clinicians and sector partners to provide an innovative undergraduate clinical skills event, and at the same time promote leg health to the local community.
Members of the public are invited, via local press advertisements, to attend a leg health assessment in the specialist Podiatry Clinic at the university. The holistic assessment incorporates:
- Past medical history
- Assessment of limbs for chronic venous disease
- Arterial assessment
The assessment is carried out by podiatry undergraduate students, supported by practising clinicians and university staff. The results of this assessment are communicated to the individual patient, along with any necessary early intervention for identified conditions . This can include lifestyle advice, referral to podiatric care, provision of hosiery, or instructions to visit their GP. Information gained from this assessment and details of intervention is also sent to the GP, following consent from the individual patients and carers.
This genuine interaction with patients enables the student podiatrist to develop assessment skills under supervision and understand appropriate referral pathways for those requiring medical input. The student gains appreciation of the need for, and clinical benefits, of early intervention for venous/ lymphatic insufficiency. They also develop confidence in selecting hosiery, as well as building their measurement and fitting skills.
The clinic brings a range of benefits for individual patients and carers. The process of self referral and subsequent assessment and treatment facilitates empowerment. Individuals feel listened to and supported. Meanwhile the assessments promote self care, prevents disease progression and potentially the development of further complications, and allows timely specialist referral to be made in those cases requiring prompt review.
The leg health assessment days facilitate undergraduate training, the public health agenda and general health promotion and have resulted in positive feedback from staff, patients, carers and students. All the people attending the clinic reported that they felt they had been listened to, adequately assessed and would recommend to others to attend the clinic.
Acknowledgement: We are grateful for the expertise and support of Leanne Atkin MHSc RGN Lecturer Practitioner, Professor Karen Ousey PhD, RGN, FHEA, Activa Healthcare. (Activa Healthcare is part of the Lohmann & Rauscher Group) and the Podiatry staff and students of the University of Huddersfield.