Between 5.6 and 8 million, nearly one in five senior citizens in America, suffer from at least one illness affecting psychological wellness, according to a report released last year by the Institute of Medicine, “The Mental Substance Use Workforce for Older Adults: In Whose Hands?” Among these devastating cognitive/emotional conditions is Alzheimer’s, a diagnosis often accompanied by multiple physical problems and psycho/social morbidity that occur during a period of life transition. Today, however, too few medical experts, nurses included, are adequately equipped to deal with the exclusive difficulties of looking after this weak, vulnerable population, one bound to grow as Baby Boomers age.
To address this worrying gap in medical knowledge and clinical practice by the medical workforce on the frontline of primary care for elderly people, the National League for Nursing will create specific curricula and sources for the NLN’s country wide recognized signature program in geriatrics education: ACES (Advancing Care Excellence for Seniors). With a $125,000 grant from MetLife Foundation to the NLN Foundation for Nursing Education, funds will be used in 2013 to create three inter-professional educating techniques and three unfolding web-based case research for ACES. Related models, also to be developed as part of the new project, will provide staff with classroom-ready templates for instruction and guidelines for developing new knowledge into the core program. In addition, the unfolding case research and relevant models will highlight complex medical care situations experienced by Alzheimer’s illness sufferers and their families, presenting learners with opportunities to think and act in ‘real time,’ using evidence-based medical assessment and involvement techniques.
“By adding specific program sources for educating about care of sufferers with Alzheimer’s and their care providers, the NLN will be an important resource for staff to train learners in rehabilitation, wellness promotion, medical care and public service recommendation for the specific care for elderly people with mental problems, specifically Alzheimer’s,” stated NLN chief executive Judith A. Halstead, PhD, RN, FAAN, ANEF.