Community Based Care for the Elderly

The Network: TUFH Elderly Care Task Force promotes ways in which students learn to value older persons as a community of individuals requiring a care delivery system characterized by responsiveness and consideration of the collective as well as the individual.

The Task Force promotes community-based care of older persons among students as this care provides opportunities to develop skills in communication, interdisciplinary collaboration and teamwork, establishing goals of care and facilitating decision making, comprehensive health assessment including use of standardized instruments, and advocacy for their expressed needs and interests and varying abilities.

At Network TUFH annual conferences and throughout the year, the Task Force promotes member knowledge exchange about active learning for students in caring for older persons that include clinical attachments, role play, audio-visual interactive learning resources, including e-learning, community based teaching/field trips, home visits and visits to the community-based care services, multi-disciplinary projects, and inter-professional training.

2015-2016 Update

The slogan for last year’s conference in South Africa was ‘Bambanani” (working together) and that is what the Elderly Task Force is doing this year in promoting the education of geriatrics to undergraduates not only in some disciplines but all discipline of training, including pediatrics.

Yes, I did say pediatrics???? In low-income settings, the elderly often look after grandchildren and indeed bring many up as their own children. The challenges this comes with not only affect the child but the care taker as well. Students need to appreciate these intricacies as they go through their medical school training.

This year the Elderly Task Force has continued with activities started in the last year that further the goal of community care for the elderly.