Integrating aged care in the curriculum: the importance of design and evaluation

Background:The current study describes the design and implementation of a residential aged care facility placement, and reports student experiences using an attitudinal survey across two cohorts.Method:Placements in January 2014 and 2015 were surveyed to identify barriers and enablers to student learning. Descriptive analysis was used to report the frequency of responses for categorical variables. Chi-square tests were used to analyse change in item rank by year. Content analysis was used to analyse text responses.Results:Initial 2014 results show that 75.4% of respondents agreed that they were able to achieve the required learning outcomes during this placement, with 72.8% agreeing that the placement improved their knowledge of community-based care for the elderly. Students tended to agree that the placement improved their confidence as practitioners, and that the experience helped to improve communication skills.Conclusion:This initiative showed that it is possible to enable learning outcomes that are directly related to core paramedic competencies. The placement was associated with improved understanding of age-related health problems. In addition, the placement provided opportunities to observe the role of health professionals in the maintenance of an older individual's health, social and spiritual needs.

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