I began teaching at the University of Indianapolis in 2003. With an expertise in geriatrics, I was anxious to teach in the lifespan sequence (two semesters) to our entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy students. One area I found lacking was how to relate general knowledge to the aspect of direct care. I found case studies a great way to have the students see that aging changes accompany the older adult and are not separate issues. While this text took only a year to compile and edit, a lifetime of learning and planning went into this endeavor.
This text is meant to serve several purposes. This text is designed to be utilized as an adjunct throughout the Doctor of Physical Therapy curriculum. This text can be used with a general pathology course, an aging, lifespan, or gerontology (geriatric physical therapy) course. This text can also be a helpful study guide for the licensing exam, or even the geriatric specialty exam. The cases run the gamut from simple to challenging to complex that require advanced learning and study. The case studies or vignettes here are designed to have students investigate several aspects of a specific primary diagnosis. Students and even experienced clinicians moving into the field of geriatric physical therapy need to know and understand how to assess the functional ability of the older adult and why a focus on function is important. They will need to know how to perform a comprehensive geriatric assessment including strategies to enhance communication with their older patients in order to develop an overall plan for treatment and long-term follow-up.
I look forward to hearing from users of the text for updates, additional information, and even new cases for any future editions. I hope that my love and passion for this specialty area of practice can be appreciated and followed.