This program area involves the integration of gerontology content and inter-professional principles into College and University curricula across a wide spectrum of programs that train students for careers working with seniors. Creating professional development programs for staff and administrators currently involved in seniors’ care is also underway. This work will build a highly skilled workforce prepared to care for an increasingly complex aging population.
- Incorporating research evidence into training initiatives for future professionals in seniors’ care.
- Creating a gerontology focus in college and university curricula in programs training students for careers in seniors’ care.
- Developing best practices and guidelines for inter-professional care for older adults in the community and in retirement and long-term care.
- Creating “living classrooms” (on-site in care homes that engender spontaneous interaction among students, staff and residents and provide students with first-hand experience in long-term care and retirement living environments).
- Creating the award-winning professional development program “Excellence in Resident Centred Care” (10-week course for Personal Support Workers from both long-term care and retirement homes). The program teaches the principles of resident-centred care within the context of providing care to older adults.
- Development of curriculum, resources and a framework for creating effective care teams focused on interprofessional collaboration in long-term care facilities.
- Pilot testing a 20-bed Transitional Care Unit (TCU) for patients in acute care who no longer need that level of care but are not yet ready to move home or to long-term care.
Veronique Boscart, RN, MScN, MEd, PhD (CIHR & Schlegel Industrial Research Chair for Colleges in Seniors Care, Conestoga College)
There are three key elements to the RIA’s collaborative practice model and the Workforce Development & Interprofessional Practice research area. One is the creation of “living classrooms”, which are on-site in care homes, and encourage interaction between students, staff and residents and provide students with first-hand experience in retirement and long term care environments.
The “living classrooms” serve as a Conestoga College Campus for students enrolled in the college’s Personal Support Worker program and Practical Nursing program. Currently, living classroom space is in place at the Village of Riverside Glen in Guelph, and Winston Park in Kitchener. They include purpose-built classroom space, computer labs, a clinical room with mannequins, model bedroom and common area spaces typical of long-term care. “Living classrooms” will also be part of the North Campus project where a long-term care home will be housed on University of Waterloo campus.
Living classroom space is also in place at the Village of Winston Park in Kitchener, where Conestoga College delivers courses in Recreation Management for Older Adults, as well as a bridging program to allow PSWs to build on their training and experience to qualify to work as Registered Practical Nurses. A unique feature that makes this program very popular is its design as a part-time studies program.
A second key element of RIA’s collaborative practice model is professional development programs for staff working with seniors. The award-winning “Excellence in Resident-Centred Care” program illustrates this. Motivated by an interest within Schlegel Villages to enhance the skills of PSWs in providing care that is resident-centred, a working group completed a needs assessment, reviewed the literature on best practices, then developed and implemented this innovating training approach.
In line with RIA’s objective of dissemination of results and knowledge transfer, the course is currently being packaged and marketed broadly to long-term care homes nationally and beyond.
A third key element of the collaborative practice model is integration of gerontology content and inter-professional principles into college and university curricula across a wide spectrum of programs that train students destined for careers working with seniors. The CIHR/Schlegel Industrial Research Chair in Seniors Care for Colleges takes the practice-based learning from working closely with staff in long-term care and retirement living, and working closely with staff at Conestoga College, enriches the gerontology content in various courses.