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Gerontology Graduate Training in North America: Shifting Landscapes, Innovation and Future Directions

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2016-07-29
Abstract: 

As the Canadian population ages it is anticipated there will be an increased demand for students with advanced training in gerontology. In today's highly fluid and competitive environment, the challenge for gerontology graduate programs will be how to attract the best and brightest students and provide them with the knowledge base and skillsets that they will need in order to be successful. Yet, very little research has been conducted on the state of gerontology graduate education in North America with a focus on Canadian programs. Given this gap, the purpose of this report is to: a) report on current trends in gerontology graduate education and b) highlight innovations and potential future directions for the discipline in general, and the Simon Fraser University (SFU) graduate programs in gerontology, more specifically. This report was funded by the SFU, Dean of Graduate Studies SCORE program: Strengthening the Core Fund for Innovation in Graduate Education.

 

For this project a total of 40 eligible English language gerontology graduate programs (doctoral or master's level) offered by Canadian or American universities were identified. Interviews were conducted with 23/40 universities and data were collected on a number of topics such as target students, marketing and publicity methods, and program requirements. Some supplementary data were also collected from online information sources. Of the universities in the sample, 10 offer doctoral level programs (total of 12 programs) and 20 offer master's level programs (total of 24 programs). Eight of the universities are Canadian and fifteen are American.

Document type: 
Report
File(s): 

Experiencing ‘Pathologized Presence and Normalized Absence’; Understanding Health Related Experiences and Access to Health Care Among Iraqi and Somali Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Persons Without Legal Status

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2015
Abstract: 

Background

Asylum seekers, refugees and persons without legal status have been reported to experience a range of difficulties when accessing public services and supports in the UK. While research has identified health care barriers to equitable access such as language difficulties, it has not considered the broader social contexts of marginalization experienced through the dynamics of ‘othering’. The current study explores health and health care experiences of Somali and Iraqi asylum seekers, refugees and persons without legal status, highlighting ‘minoritization’ processes and the ‘pathologization’ of difference as analytical lenses to understand the multiple layers of oppression that contribute to health inequities.

Methods

For the study, qualitative methods were used to document the lived experiences of asylum seekers, refugees and persons without legal status. Thirty-five in-depth interviews and five focus groups were used to explore personal accounts, reveal shared understandings and enable social, cognitive and emotional understandings of on-going health problems and challenges when seeking treatment and care. A participatory framework was undertaken which inspired collaborative workings with local organizations that worked directly with asylum seekers, refugees and persons without legal status.

Results

The analysis revealed four key themes: 1) pre-departure histories and post-arrival challenges; 2) legal status; 3) health knowledges and procedural barriers as well as 4) language and cultural competence. Confidentiality, trust, wait times and short doctor-patient consultations were emphasized as being insufficient for culturally specific communications and often translating into inadequate treatment and care. Barriers to accessing health care was associated with social disadvantage and restrictions of the broader welfare system suggesting that a re-evaluation of the asylum seeking process is required to improve the situation.

Discussions

Macro- and micro-level intersections of accustomed societal beliefs, practices and norms, broad-levellegislation and policy decisions, and health care and social services delivery methods have affected the health and health care experiences of forced migrants that reside in the UK. Research highlights how ‘minoritization processes,’ influencing the intersections between social identities, can hinder access to and delivery of health and social services to vulnerable groups. Similar findings were reported here; and the most influential mechanism directly impacting health and access to health and social services was legal status.

Conclusions

Equitable health care provision requires systemic change that incorporate understandings of marginalization, ‘othering’ processes and the intersections between the past histories and everyday realities of asylum seekers, refugees and persons without legal status.

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

Development of a Comprehensive Hospital-Based Elder Abuse Intervention: An Initial Systematic Scoping Review

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2015
Abstract: 

Introduction

Elder abuse, a universal human rights problem, is associated with many negative consequences. In most jurisdictions, however, there are no comprehensive hospital-based interventions for elder abuse that address the totality of needs of abused older adults: psychological, physical, legal, and social. As the first step towards the development of such an intervention, we undertook a systematic scoping review.

Objectives

Our primary objective was to systematically extract and synthesize actionable and applicable recommendations for components of a multidisciplinary intersectoral hospital-based elder abuse intervention. A secondary objective was to summarize the characteristics of the responses reviewed, including methods of development and validation.

Methods

The grey and scholarly literatures were systematically searched, with two independent reviewers conducting the title, abstract and full text screening. Documents were considered eligible for inclusion if they: 1) addressed a response (e.g., an intervention) to elder abuse, 2) contained recommendations for responding to abused older adults with potential relevance to a multidisciplinary and intersectoral hospital-based elder abuse intervention; and 3) were available in English.

Analysis

The extracted recommendations for care were collated, coded, categorized into themes, and further reviewed for relevancy to a comprehensive hospital-based response. Characteristics of the responses were summarized using descriptive statistics.

Results

649 recommendations were extracted from 68 distinct elder abuse responses, 149 of which were deemed relevant and were categorized into 5 themes: Initial contact; Capacity and consent; Interview with older adult, caregiver, collateral contacts, and/or suspected abuser; Assessment: physical/forensic, mental, psychosocial, and environmental/functional; and care plan. Only 6 responses had been evaluated, suggesting a significant gap between development and implementation of recommendations.

Discussion

To address the lack of evidence to support the recommendations extracted in this review, in a future study, a group of experts will formally evaluate each recommendation for its inclusion in a comprehensive hospital-based response.

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

An Educational Video to Promote Multi-Factorial Approaches For Fall and Injury Prevention in Long-Term Care Facilities

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2014
Abstract: 

Background

Older adults living in long term care (LTC) settings are vulnerable to fall-related injuries. There is a need to develop and implement evidence-based approaches to address fall injury prevention in LTC. Knowledge translation (KT) interventions to support the uptake of evidence-based approaches to fall injury prevention in LTC need to be responsive to the learning needs of LTC staff and use mediums, such as videos, that are accessible and easy-to-use. This article describes the development of two unique educational videos to promote fall injury prevention in long-term care (LTC) settings. These videos are unique from other fall prevention videos in that they include video footage of real life falls captured in the LTC setting.

Methods

Two educational videos were developed (2012–2013) to support the uptake of findings from a study exploring the causes of falls based on video footage captured in LTC facilities. The videos were developed by: (1) conducting learning needs assessment in LTC settings via six focus groups (2) liaising with LTC settings to identify learning priorities through unstructured conversations; and (3) aligning the content with principles of adult learning theory.

Results

The videos included footage of falls, interviews with older adults and fall injury prevention experts. The videos present evidence-based fall injury prevention recommendations aligned to the needs of LTC staff and: (1) highlight recommendations deemed by LTC staff as most urgent (learner-centered learning); (2) highlight negative impacts of falls on older adults (encourage meaning-making); and, (3) prompt LTC staff to reflect on fall injury prevention practices (encourage critical reflection).

Conclusions

Educational videos are an important tool available to researchers seeking to translate evidence-based recommendations into LTC settings. Additional research is needed to determine their impact on practice.

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

'It Is Not Going To Change His Life But It Has Picked Him Up': A Qualitative Study Of Perspectives On Long Term Oxygen Therapy For People With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2013
Abstract: 

Background

Long-term oxygen therapy (LTOT) extends life in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with severe hypoxaemia. Questionnaire-based studies of the effects of LTOT have not suggested uniformly positive findings. The few qualitative studies suggest that patients report benefits but also concerns about dependency on oxygen therapy. The aim of the study was to explore the views and experiences of COPD patients, their carers and the healthcare professionals who deliver these services, on the long-term use of oxygen therapy.

Methods

Focus groups were conducted with 16 patients with from the LTOT service, six carers, and nine healthcare professionals (n = 31). Eleven patients with COPD, four carers and one staff manager (n = 16) participated in semi-structured interviews. Interviews and focus group were digitally recorded and field notes were taken. Data were analysed using the thematic network analysis approach.

Results

Patients and carers reported the benefits of LTOT including increased social activity, perceived improvements in health status and self-management in routine daily activities. Concerns were raised regarding stigma, dependency on LTOT and deterioration in health status. Staff accounts included negative perceptions, suggesting that LTOT was often inappropriately prescribed and under-used but recommended active patient management to address this challenge.

Conclusions

LTOT has some beneficial effects in improving daily activities and social interaction of patients with COPD but also some limitations. Increased support and monitoring by healthcare professionals would address some concerns, as would better information for patients, carers and the general public.

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

Psychometric Properties Of Responses By Clinicians And Older Adults To A 6-Item Hebrew Version Of The Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D6)

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2013
Abstract: 

Background

The Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D) is commonly used as a screening instrument, as a continuous measure of change in depressive symptoms over time, and as a means to compare the relative efficacy of treatments. Among several abridged versions, the 6-item HAM-D6 is used most widely in large degree because of its good psychometric properties. The current study compares both self-report and clinician-rated versions of the Hebrew version of this scale.

Methods

A total of 153 Israelis 75 years of age on average participated in this study. The HAM-D6 was examined using confirmatory factor analytic (CFA) models separately for both patient and clinician responses.

Results

Reponses to the HAM-D6 suggest that this instrument measures a unidimensional construct with each of the scales’ six items contributing significantly to the measurement. Comparisons between self-report and clinician versions indicate that responses do not significantly differ for 4 of the 6 items. Moreover, 100% sensitivity (and 91% specificity) was found between patient HAM-D6 responses and clinician diagnoses of depression.

Conclusion

These results indicate that the Hebrew HAM-D6 can be used to measure and screen for depressive symptoms among elderly patients.

Document type: 
Article
File(s): 

Supporting Meningitis Diagnosis amongst Infants and Children Through The Use Of Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2012
Abstract: 

BACKGROUND:Meningitis is characterized by an inflammation of the meninges, or the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Early diagnosis and treatment is crucial for a positive outcome, yet identifying meningitis is a complex process involving an array of signs and symptoms and multiple causal factors which require novel solutions to support clinical decision-making. In this work, we explore the potential of fuzzy cognitive map to assist in the modeling of meningitis, as a support tool for physicians in the accurate diagnosis and treatment of the condition.METHODS:Fuzzy cognitive mapping (FCM) is a method for analysing and depicting human perception of a given system. FCM facilitates the development of a conceptual model which is not limited by exact values and measurements and thus is well suited to representing relatively unstructured knowledge and associations expressed in imprecise terms. A team of doctors (physicians), comprising four paediatricians, was formed to define the multifarious signs and symptoms associated with meningitis and to identify risk factors integral to its causality, as indicators used by clinicians to identify the presence or absence of meningitis in patients. The FCM model, consisting of 20 concept nodes, has been designed by the team of paediatricians in collaborative dialogue with the research team.RESULTS:The paediatricians were supplied with a form containing various input parameters to be completed at the time of diagnosing meningitis among infants and children. The paediatricians provided information on a total of 56 patient cases amongst children whose age ranged from 2 months to 7 years. The physicians' decision to diagnose meningitis was available for each individual case which was used as the outcome measure for evaluating the model. The FCM was trained using 40 cases with an accuracy of 95%, and later 16 test cases were used to analyze the accuracy and reliability of the model. The system produced the results with sensitivity of 83.3% and specificity of 80%.CONCLUSIONS:This work suggests that the application and development of a knowledge based system, using the formalization of FCMs for understanding the symptoms and causes of meningitis in children and infants, can provide a reliable front-end decision-making tool to better assist physicians.

Document type: 
Article

Listening to the Critics: a Response to "Clinical Ethics Revisited"

Author: 
Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2001
Document type: 
Article