OVERVIEW OF THE PROGRAM
The Seniors Assisting in Geriatric Education (SAGE) Program is an innovative, instructional method that was implemented at the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) and Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (TCOM). The curriculum was designed to enhance and strengthen training in geriatrics as part of a grant from Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. The current SAGE Program is offered in collaboration with Texas Christian University (TCU) and the UNTHSC Office of Interprofessional Education.
The SAGE Program consists of an educational curriculum and community based outreach experience aimed at increasing student opportunity for early exposure to older adults and issues in geriatrics. The program strives to create meaningful relationships with an interprofessional health profession team of students with the goal of gaining knowledge about the needs of today’s senior population while guiding the next generation of healthcare professions. The education component involves health care profession students interacting with each other and their senior mentors through structured assignments delivered in the home environment.
Student teams are paired in groups of 3-4 interprofessional healthcare students. The student teams are then matched with a community-dwelling adult, over 60 years of age, who receives services from Meals on Wheels, Inc. (MOWI) of Tarrant County or another senior volunteer from the community. The SAGE Program includes 6 visits over a 2 year period providing health care professions students with the opportunity to apply their classroom education in the context and care of an older adult. Students practice and demonstrate basic clinical skills; including taking histories, interviewing, conducting physical exams and cognitive assessments, and advising clients on nutrition, home safety, and discussing community resources available to them and advanced care planning. Every visit will include the health care profession students taking the seniors vital signs. The sequencing of visits and modification of assignments may vary depending on circumstances due to various academic program schedules.
PURPOSES OF THE PROGRAM
- Provide a needed service to the community
- Establish a long-term relationship with an older person.
- Improve the way future medical professionals care for older adults
- Introduces exposure to a home-bound, diverse population of older adults
- Provides an out-of-classroom experience for increasing geriatric knowledge and skills
- Increases the depth and breadth of geriatric content in medical professions curriculum