If you’re at the Great Lakes Expo this week, occupational therapy students from Davenport University are offering a free service to all attendees: arthritis screenings.
“We created a screen for arthritis, and we’ve been trying to screen as many people for arthritis, and so far we’ve been successful,” said Julia McIntosh, a second year occupational therapy student.
One of her cohort members, Elizabeth Dyche sees these screenings as an asset for farmers.
“Farmers are using their very fine motor skills quite frequently—using their hands, fingers, using their shoulders to lift, drive and pull,” she said. “It’s pretty hard on their joints, so we thought this would be a good way to help them know about what arthritis is and develop techniques to prevent further damage if they are feeling pain.”
For those who have arthritis, they get information on how they should manage it.
“We have some do’s and don’ts,” said Dyche. “The do’s are things they can do to prevent further complications from their symptoms, and the don’ts are things to avoid so they’re not aggravating those current symptoms.”
They also receive handmade rice heat packs, says student Lauren Brower.
“The students at Davenport University created heat packs for the farmers to take home with them to compensate for the pain they’re feeling from the arthritis and use it for when they are feeling pain to manage those symptoms,” said Brower.
At the end of the day, it was about building a positive relationship between farmers and the occupational therapy students, said McIntosh.
“[The goal is] to show how occupational therapy can help in every area of life and every career, especially farming and [it’s] really important fr us to show what we can do to help them and how farmers can give us techniques about how we could adapt a tool,” she said. “It was a really good experience for both fields.”
Visit Michigan Agrability at booth 1547 this week at the show for your free screening. It’s right across from the Michigan Ag Today booth, so be sure to stop by and say hello.