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3 min read

Physical Therapy Partnership: Caring for the whole person

Providing Essential Resources

UGM relies on the support of the community to offer comprehensive care to individuals in need. One of the lesser-known services offered in our four shelters is access to free medical clinics. These are volunteer-driven by medical professionals who care for those who often lack access to essential resources, including healthcare. Last year alone, 769 individuals received basic medical attention in our shelter clinics, with a total of 2,474 visits.Whitworth-PT

In addition to volunteer providers, local universities, Eastern (EWU) and Whitworth (WU), have established a unique partnership with UGM over the last five years, offering students real-world experience by applying coursework in a hands-on setting. As part of their curriculum, Doctor of Physical Therapy students volunteer regularly at the UGM Men’s Shelter and the UGM Women & Children’s Shelter.

“This is a great way to take a break from academics and make an impact on this community… [residents tell us] how much they appreciate us being here,” shares Sarah Brown, a physical therapy student at Whitworth. “It’s a great learning experience.”

 

“This is a great way to take a break from academics and make an impact on this community…It’s a great learning experience.”

– WU Doctor of Physical Therapy student

 

 

 

A Compassionate Approach

On various dates throughout each month, UGM guests have the opportunity to sign up for a physical therapy appointment. During the appointment, students and professors provide an assessment and formulate a personalized treatment plan.

Annie Crain, UGM Medical Clinic Coordinator, organizes the collaboration between the university programs and UGM clinics. “Our resident population has a lot of pain or difficulty with movement. Physical therapy can be used for a myriad of conditions,” she explained. “Our shelters require independent living, and the PT students [support our efforts] to help people stay independent for as long as possible.”

 

“Our shelters require independent living, and the PT students [support our efforts] to help people stay independent for as long as possible.”

– Annie Crain, UGM Medical Clinic Coordinator

 

Serving at UGM helps students apply what they are learning within their classrooms to a real-life situation. It challenges them to maintain a people-first, compassionate approach while caring for individuals who are among the community’s most vulnerable.

Eastern-PT

“It’s easy to get caught up in my own nerves and feelings, but that nervousness, however indirectly, harms the patient and impedes quality of care. Quickly, I’m having to learn to put myself aside to address the patient’s concerns to an acceptable degree, one that the patient deserves,” explained an EWU student.

 

“It’s easy to get caught up in my own nerves and feelings, but that nervousness harms the patient and impedes quality of care. Quickly, I’m having to learn to put myself aside to address the patient’s concerns to an acceptable degree, one that the patient deserves.”

– EWU Doctor of Physical Therapy student

 

 

The students value the skills they’re developing within UGM’s shelters and will utilize these skills while serving other patients throughout their careers.

 

 

The Offer of Restoration

Another EWU student shared, “With every patient I am utilizing verbal and nonverbal communication to build rapport and trust. I try my best to empower them by giving them education on their own resiliency and provide them with tools they can utilize in their lives.”

Eastern-PT-2

This perspective embodies the heart of UGM, which seeks to provide resources that restore dignity and offer a pathway out of homelessness.

 

“I try my best to empower [UGM guests] by giving them education on their own resiliency and provide them with tools they can utilize in their lives.”

– EWU Doctor of Physical Therapy student

 

UGM is partnering with individuals and organizations in the Inland Northwest, such as these universities, to reach the poor with the love and power of the gospel so they may become God-dependent, contributing members of society.

  

 

Volunteer Impact

Whitworth-PT-2Thank you to the Doctor of Physical Therapy programs of Eastern Washington University and Whitworth University for your involvement in this ministry. We are grateful for your partnership in offering restoration to those in need.

At Union Gospel Mission, all skillsets are essential for creating the safe, healing environment that supports life change in our shelters. You can serve just once or on a regular basis, as a group or individually. Our community cherishes the investment that volunteers make when they offer their valuable time and unique gifts.

No matter your skill set, you have what it takes to serve our neighbors experiencing homelessness.

 

 

 

For information about serving at UGM, visit www.uniongospelmission.org/volunteer.

 

Click here to sign up for a volunteer overview. >>

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