Professional Poster

Student Experience as Part of an Interprofessional Geriatric Medication Game

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United States census data projects that one-fourth of the population will be 65 years or older by the year 2060. This trend is going to require healthcare professionals to be well versed in managing common issues or concerns in this population. To help prepare learners for this experience, the Purdue College of Pharmacy collaborated with Purdue University Nursing and Nutrition Science programs to participate in a Geriatric Medication Game (GMG). In this activity, students assume the role of an elderly patient and are paired with other leaners to represent the experience of a geriatric family unit navigating the complex healthcare system. To best represent potential difficulties prevalent in elderly patients, students are assigned mock disabilities they must consider as they encounter different healthcare settings. These disabilities can include visual impairment, limited dexterity, gait or balance issues that require an assistive device, or hearing loss. The healthcare settings students navigate include a pharmacy, physician/provider office, laboratory testing, and more. Understanding common issues or concerns of the geriatric population and learning how to best support these patients through collaboration with other healthcare professionals is critical.

Pre- and post-survey results from all disciplines indicate several benefits to students by participating in the GMG. The Perceptions of Older Adults Scale demonstrates statistically significant improvement in many areas, including 1) students understanding of the effects disabilities can have on the ability of older adults to accomplish daily tasks; 2) challenges faced by older adults as they navigate the healthcare system; 3) an understanding that geriatric patients likely need to visit multiple healthcare providers to receive optimal care, and more. In addition to the benefits seen related to an improved understanding of the geriatric population, Readiness for Interprofessional Learning Survey (RIPLS) results indicate statistically significant improvement in interprofessional collaboration, including 1) their understanding that learning with students from other disciplines can help them become a more effective team member; 2) that patients ultimately benefit if healthcare team members work together; 3) learning with other healthcare students before licensure can improve relationships after licensure, and more.

Recognizing the need to train future healthcare professionals to collaborate and best support an aging population, the GMG is an experience that allows learners to gain improved understanding of the needs of their elderly patients and how healthcare team member collaboration provides the best care to patients.