Introduction: Medical care for older adults is often quite complex, as individuals may have multiple health concerns that require medications, therapy, and a variety of treatment modalities. Medical conditions are often associated with psychosocial, cultural, cognitive, nutritional, financial and functional issues. To achieve positive health outcomes, care for older adults must be coordinated and comprehensive, and this often requires effective interprofessional collaboration. This means that health professional students need to learn how to provide care that exemplifies good communication, collaboration, and teamwork. In addition, there is increasing awareness that competence in geriatric care needs to be improved for almost all health care team members through enhanced training programs. Methods: This case study is designed to be used with a team of any mix of interprofessional health care students and one standardized patient as a stand-alone activity or as a part of a larger interprofessional course. The standardized patient encounter utilizes three documents: the standardized patient script, the introduction, and the physical exam and laboratory findings. Each team is instructed to develop a team-oriented care plan based on the script, introduction, and the team assessment. Instructor assessment tools are also included with this resource. Results: In order to determine if we are meeting our course and activity objectives, we collect pre- and postsurvey data on geriatric and interprofessional team perceptions. At the conclusion of the course the students complete a team effectiveness survey. Student written feedback on the course has consistently commented that the standardized patient assessments are the best portion of the course. Their feedback has also indicated that they feel more confident with evaluating geriatric patients and working as an interprofessional team. The students also learn more about each other’s professional roles. Discussion: This course has led to development of curricular changes and additional patient care services. Interprofessional faculty teaching together in this course led to the development of additional coordinated interprofessional clinical patient care service at the university’s senior health primary care clinic. Additional service learning is now also being provided to under-served geriatric populations in the community. The occupational therapy program is now developing a geriatric curricular track that would include this course as a required element.
- Communicate as an effective member of an interprofessional team.
- Demonstrate emerging collaborative skills while developing a patient-centered care plan.
- Describe the unique perspectives, values, contributions, and responsibilities that health care professionals bring to the geriatric interprofessional team.
- Demonstrate the ability to collaborate with the patient and family.
- Develop an understanding of the potential barriers to communication with geriatric patients including health literacy, cultural barriers, cognitive, psychosocial, and physical impairments.
- Explore and develop an understanding of the ethical dilemmas that arise in the care of older adults and manage conflicts that may occur from different perspectives of team members.
- Identify and develop effective teamwork skills and strategies essential for interprofessional geriatric care.
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