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Getting Started


Assessment of Older Adults in Long-Term Care Settings

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Getting Started

This teaching strategy focuses on assessment and use of effective communication with older adults, and enhances students’ spirit of inquiry and human flourishing. 

1.  Each student should be assigned an older adult to assess during his or her long-term care experience. During the six-week experience, the students will complete comprehensive assessments of the older adults. Additional assessment tools may be needed for some individuals and can be found at the How to Try This site

2.  Prior to clinical experience, the students should review the assessment tool on the How to Try This site. In pre-conference, review the tool with students, discussing purpose, scoring, strengths, and limitations. In post- conference, talk about students’ findings and variations among older adults, limitations of the assessment tool, and indications of need for follow-up care, focusing on the following points related to assessing function and expectations: 

  • Assess older adults’ individual aging patterns and functional statuses using standardized assessment tools. 
  • Use effective communication techniques to recognize, respond to, and respect older adults’ strengths, wishes, and expectations. 
  • Include findings of assessment of older adults’ cognition, mood, physical function, and comfort to fully assess individual aging patterns.
  • As a post-clinical reflection exercise, ask each student to write a one-page response to the following questions: 

I.       What have you learned about older adults during this long- term care experience?

II.       How will you use your newly acquired assessment skills in other clinical settings?

III.       What is the client’s perception of the quality of his or her life and what goals does the client have?

  • Summarize the results from the entire clinical group and report findings to the group as well as to nursing faculty and the curriculum committee.
  • Additional Assignment: If time and circumstance allow, have each of the students do assessments on clients in assisted living and compare the findings with clients in long-term care.

Suggested Reading
Assessment Tools 
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