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February 2010 Issue
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DAAP students Casey Schneider (left) and Aaron Watkins.
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Nursing, DAAP Join Forces to Improve Health Care Items

By Angela Koenig
Published February 2010

Faculty and students from UC’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP) are collaborating with the university’s College of Nursing to re-examine and redesign often overlooked health care items—such as bed trays and walkers—which are key to comfort and care in both medical and home environments.

This is an exciting collaboration with Live Well Collaborative, located on the UC campus, which is a leading edge model for universities to partner with corporations in the research and development of products and services for the age 50-plus market.

To gain first-hand experience, students participated in role-play exercises, allowing insight into the barriers and frustrations individuals encounter when using assistive devices. To take it a step further, students donned glasses that restricted sight, used gloves and tape to mimic arthritis symptoms and wore braces and tape to limit range of motion.

As seen above, DAAP students Casey Schneider (left) and Aaron Watkins had a variety of exercises to perform such as trying to get through a crowded room with tables and chairs, getting up from a fall, using stairs and closing the walker.

“What this is all about is reality-based learning,” says Evelyn Fitzwater, DSN, associate professor emerita and director for the College of Nursing’s Center for Aging with Dignity, who conducted the exercise.

“It gives students an up-close and personal glimpse of other people’s reality,” she says. “It also can emphasize empathy, which is something you can’t teach.”

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