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It’s true that you can never really understand someone or their situation until you’ve been through the same or essentially ‘walked in their shoes.’

For the able-bodied, it’s hard to imagine what it would be like to have blurred vision, the inability to balance, minimised hearing and stiff joints amongst other issues.

Thanks to a donation to Wishlist, staff will be able to experience all of this as they walk in the shoes of geriatric patients.

The $3,000 Age Simulation Gerontologic Test Suit (GERT) will allow both nursing and medical staff the opportunity to experience and understand the impairments of older persons with the ability to improve care of geriatric patients. The suit-wearer will experience the following age-related impairments; low vision, high-frequency hearing loss, head mobility restrictions, joint stiffness, loss of strength, reduced grip ability and reduced coordination skill.

GEDI Staff Specialist Dr EJ Marsden said the suit will simulate an older person’s experience of ADLs (activities of daily living) using specialised goggles, garments and weights.

“This simulation will allow nursing, allied health and medical staff to experience all the difficulties their patients may face and provide a better understanding of the limitations and difficulties experienced by a geriatric patient.” Dr Marsden said.

The funding for the simulation suit came from a generous donation to Wishlist from the Nambour Toads Rugby Union Club. Through Sunday raffles at Palmwoods Tavern, the Nambour Toads donate to Wishlist each year for the needs of the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service.

“These added extras for the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service cannot be provided without the generosity of the local Sunshine Coast community. Ross Dale and his team mates sell tickets to generous families at Palmwoods Hotel each week and the ultimate winner is every Coast family when you see a resource like this provided to our hospitals.” Wishlist CEO Lisa Rowe said.

“This (GERT) suit will ultimately enhance the care our geriatric patients receive at a local hospital by allowing staff to experience the challenges they face on a daily basis and will also improve the skills of our medical staff.”

Wishlist is the Coast’s local hospital foundation dedicated to fundraising for the needs of our local public health services. Annually we pledge more than $1 million dollars to providing new and upgraded equipment, training, support programs and research funding for the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service. Since 1998, Wishlist – with the help of a generous and committed community – has directed more than $11 million towards supporting the Coast’s health system.

The GERT suit in action.

The GERT suit in action.