Conestoga news

July 19, 2013 2:48 PM

A winning partnership for older adults

A rapidly aging population means Canada must be aware of and prepared for the care and service needs of older adults. This also means a fast-growing need for care professionals to address this increased demand.

Dr. Veronique Boscart, CIHR/Schlegel Industrial Research Chair for Colleges in Seniors Care, is at the forefront of this issue. Hosted jointly between Conestoga College and Schlegel Villages, her role as chairholder is to engage faculty, practicing professionals, and students through a five-year research and development agenda. 

"There is always a gap between the educational environment and real world but this Chair position tries to bring those things together," explains Dr. Boscart. "My role at the college is to engage faculty to evaluate and improve curriculum, develop new courses, scholarly projects, and ultimately improve graduates' knowledge.  At Schlegel Villages, I engage with staff and management to look at processes and practices, identify gaps, and help close those gaps."  Through this work, faculty and Schlegel staff will advance their programs, practices and applied research capability as "highly qualified personnel", supporting ongoing development in their fields.

One example of this innovative approach is the living classroom in the Village of Riverside Glen, Guelph. Here the classroom is right inside the long-term care facility where care staff and nurses come in to talk with students directly.  Residents speak about their care, how they live, what their concerns are.  "A resident who suffers arthritis can, for example, tell the students directly how they can best provide care for them. Staff from the facility come in and demonstrate transferring techniques.  It's true active learning."  This project is being evaluated by Dr. Boscart through another research grant, with results being disseminated through the Research Institute for Aging's Schlegel Centre for Learning, Research & Innovation.  

The opportunity with the Chair and the collaboration with Schlegel Villages and Research Institute for Aging is a winning arrangement from all perspectives.  Students receive an expanded knowledge and interest in seniors care.  Educators are able to teach the most current techniques.  Care Villages can ensure their care models have the best outcomes, as well as enable capacity building within their staff, who are encouraged to step up and participate as leaders for the students and educators they connect with through the program. Care facilities are also thrilled to be able to hire the College's exceptional graduates with advanced skills in gerontology who can step right in with current knowledge and experience.  Of course, older adults ultimately benefit from dramatically improved overall care.senior_bottombanner.jpg