1. Interviewing an older adult living in the community will give the student an opportunity to discuss the needs of an older adult who lives directly in this setting, rather than using an inpatient setting during an acute exacerbation. In the community setting, the student can not only interview the older adult, but can also assess the environmental needs directly, coordinate care as necessary, and discuss situational decisions with the patient and the caregiver(s). Each student will interview an older adult living in the community. Faculty will provide the students with “Student Interview Guide for the Older Adult Visit” and “Student Summary of Visit with the Older Adult” documents.
At the completion of the interviews the students will describe the role of the nurse when providing care to the older adult in the community. The students should be prepared to discuss with the faculty member the older adult’s wishes, expectations, mood, level of independence, life transitions, community involvement, functional status, and cultural traditions.
Students should be prepared to explore other needs that may arise in the interview, such as physical activity, nutrition, tobacco and/or substance abuse, responsible sexual behavior, mental health, safety and injury prevention, environmental quality, immunizations, and access to health care. They should be prepared to discuss other standardized tools that may be helpful in further evaluating the older adult they interviewed based on the content of the interview. The document can be revised to meet specific programmatic and curriculum needs.
2. Assessment Tools. Students should access and use appropriate assessment tools as needed. Some examples of assessment tools that can be used in the community are:
3. Concept maps are useful to assess the needs of older adults living in the community, as well as address complex chronic problems that may be occurring. As a group have the students concept map one of the older adults they interviewed in the community. As they are identifying potential risks in this client ask them to think about interventions that could be put in place to both address the risks but also promote independence.
4. Case studies foster students’ critical thinking by illustrating and contextualizing the complexities associated with older adults. For example, ACE.S cases such as George Palo and Red Yoder offer opportunities for students to listen to the voices of these clients living in the community through an audio monologue and discuss interventions to keep them living optimally in their community settings. This approach may be best suited for small group discussions or post-clinical debriefings/discussions.
5. Have the students read the article referenced in the suggested reading section, When Old News Is Good News: The Effect of 6 Elderly New Yorkers on One Middle Aged Reporter and use the following prompts to guide a discussion on older adults living in the community:
- What surprised you most about the older adults in the article who lived in the community?
- How did these older adults compare with pre-conceived notions of older adults?
- What could you learn from these older adults?