Portland Physiotherapy Manager to train 150,000 healthcare students

Movement for Movement is an Erasmus funded project run by a company called Exercise Works! aiming to promote exercise as a preventative form of health. In partnership with the University of Nottingham, Alistair Beverley; Physiotherapy Manager at Portland College, has co-authored a set of slides as part of the Movement for Movement project which will be used to educate around 150,000 healthcare students from all over the world on how they can overcome barriers of access to exercise for people with intellectual disabilities.

The project originally stemmed from looking at physical activity from people all over the world and has been running for a number of years, but this is the first time there has been a course for people with intellectual disabilities. Undergraduates in health care are not usually exposed to the population of people with intellectual disabilities whilst training, therefore don’t develop the skills to support people in this area. This leads to health inequality and more people with intellectual disabilities dying earlier. Despite laws to help people with intellectual disabilities accessing mainstream healthcare - these people are thus perceived as the niche of a specialist medical professional.

Delivered through PowerPoint slides, together with recordings from Ann Gates of Exercise Works!, the team of professionals are hoping the students take away an enhanced understanding of the needs of a person with an intellectual disability. The educational tool will help the undergraduates to understand some of the challenges and reasons as to why people have not received equal access to healthcare in the past. Along with tips to overcome any barriers they may come across and examples of good practice.

Alistair Beverley, Physiotherapy Manager at Portland College commented:

 “It’s such an exciting project to be involved in. I’m a big advocate of promoting the benefits of physical activity for all. I strongly believe that there isn’t enough support out there for people with intellectual disabilities to get enough exercise. It actually leads to 44% of deaths of people with intellectual disabilities dying of preventative healthcare causes in 2019. 

We are aiming to change values and normalise preventive health care for people with intellectual disabilities. I also have to thank Portland’s Speech and Language Therapy team who contributed to the slides by inserting symbols, ensuring that all level of student can access the tool.”

College Principal Dr Mark Dale, said:

 “I am so proud of Alistair and the work he does leading the team here. He is also the Clinical Director for Health & Wellbeing for Special Olympics GB, leads a pioneering programme of virtual reality physiotherapy interventions and now this innovative global training programme. We have created some award winning facilities at Portland College to encourage movement and exercise and we are incredibly lucky to have an outstanding practitioner to develop programmes to make the most of those facilities.”

The team behind Movement to Movement, including Alistair, will revisit the slides in the Summer and check for any updates that may improve the training. This is the first set of slides, so the team are looking for any healthcare students who would like to collaborate to submit local examples of good practice or any ideas or evidence they may have.

Alistair is committed to championing physiotherapy for those with learning disabilities, along with managing the team at Portland College, one of the country’s leading further education colleges for people with physical and learning disabilities. He is currently developing a website to act as a platform for his advocacy efforts along with working with the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists to help champion people with intellectual disabilities.

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