Student Teams Compete in Interdisciplinary Elder Care Competition
An expert panel comprising all members of the original clinical team — Carmel Dyer, M.D.; Barbara Hartle, guardianship attorney; Saketa Patton-Winston, Adult Protective Services worker; and Sabrina Pickens, adult and gerontological nurse practitioner —answered student questions about
the elder abuse case.
“The patient is a 78-year-old woman, who was forcibly removed from her home by Adult Protective Services yesterday for living in squalor. She admits to hypothyroidism and cigarette smoking. She takes hydrocodone and levothyroxine. She states that she saw her physician about three weeks ago. She lives with a former employee of her deceased husband who buys her groceries and prepares her meals.”
Given this scenario, students from dentistry, dental hygiene, health information sciences, law, medicine, nursing, occupational therapy, pharmacy, physical therapy, and social work joined forces to identify interdisciplinary interventions to assist this elderly patient.
This multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary approach was part of the 2008 Interdisciplinary Student Team Competition in Elder Abuse and Neglect held April 7.
“One of the goals of this competition is for the students to learn about elder abuse, neglect and exploitation,” says Dr. Sharon K. Ostwald, holder of the Isla Carroll Turner Chair in Gerontological Nursing. “Another goal is for the students to learn more about working with an interdisciplinary team. We really hope that students will see the value of each others contributions and learn to consult other disciplines in their real practice.”
Houston Geriatric Education Center (HGEC) and the UT Health Science Center at Houston sponsored the interdisciplinary team competition with a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The competition consisted of 30 students representing the health science center, Texas Woman’s University, and the University of Houston. The students were divided into two teams, the Senior Savers and The Cure, with representatives from a variety of disciplines.
“We had a wide spectrum of disciplines represented on our team,” said Catherine Doughty, Six Sigma Black Belt, a quality management position that improves processes by eliminating defects, at Memorial Hermann Hospital – Texas Medical Center, a student at the UT School of Health Information Sciences, and a member of The Cure team. “We have students from medical, nursing and even law; so, we have a lot of expertise to draw from.”
To prepare for the competition, each student watched and read material on elder abuse and participated in online case studies. The students also participated in an Adult Protective Service ride along and a Texas Elder Abuse and Mistreatment home visit to teach them how to care for elderly patients. In addition to individual preparation, each team worked together to create a comprehensive intervention plan by meeting face-to-face and online.
During the first round of the competition final event, each student team was given 15 minutes to question an expert panel about the actual elder abuse case. The expert panel comprised of all members of the original clinical team that worked on this case:
- Dr. Carmel Dyer, holder of the Roy M. and Phyllis Gough Huffington Chair in Gerontology and director, Division of Geriatric and Palliative Medicine. Dyer also is professor of internal medicine.
- Barbara Hartle, guardianship attorney at the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services.
- Saketa Patton-Winston, Adult Protective Service worker.
- Sabrina Pickens, adult and gerontological nurse practitioner, Harris County Hospital District. Pickens also is an instructor at the Medical School.
After the question-and-answer session, each team had 15 minutes to discuss the information and finalize their recommended interventions. During the second round of competition, the student teams presented their recommendations to the expert panel and a group of interdisciplinary faculty judges.
The faculty judges, representing the health science center, Texas Woman’s University, and the University of Houston, scored each team on quality of deliberation and questions, organization, critical thinking, interdisciplinary team approach, knowledge, completeness of answers and presentation skills. Each round of competition was worth 100 points. Each participant in the competition received a medallion to be worn at graduation as an acknowledgment of their hard work.
At the end of the competition, the expert panel answered further questions about the case and revealed the real interventions used and the outcome. Although The Cure won the competition, both teams gained a more in-depth understanding of elder care and experience working with interdisciplinary teams.
The National Center on Elder Abuse estimates “between 1 and 2 million Americans age 65 or older have been injured, exploited, or otherwise mistreated by someone on whom they depended for care or protection.” HGEC and the health science center sponsor this event as a way to increase awareness and educate future healthcare professionals on elder abuse, including physical, psychological, financial abuse and neglect, explained Ostwald.
“This competition gave me the chance to learn more about elder abuse and how complex and difficult these cases can be,” said Susan Norville, nursing student and Senior Savers team leader. “It really does take intervention from all aspects of the healthcare system like social work, physical therapy and pharmacy. All of our input is really important in these cases.”
Library exhibit features women in medicine
Women doctors are in the spotlight at the Houston Academy of Medicine-
Texas Medical Center (HAM-TMC) Library. “Changing the Face of Medicine:
Celebrating America’s Women Physicians” tells the extraordinary story of how
American women wanting to practice medicine have struggled over the past two
centuries to gain access to medical education and to work in the specialty they
The library will host a panel discussion, “Adventures and Challenges of Women Physicians” at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 6. Lunch will be provided to the first 40 attendees.
“Changing the Face of Medicine” describes women’s successful quest to
become doctors and introduces audiences to outstanding physicians from across
the United States.
Interactive kiosks traveling with the exhibition provide educational
activities, information about medical careers and biographies of outstanding
The National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, MD, a part of the National
Institutes of Health and the American Library Association Chicago, organized
the exhibition with support from the National Library of Medicine, The National
Institutes of Health Office of Research on Women’s Health and the American
Medical Women’s Association.
Funding for these programs is provided by The Methodist Hospital System.
Please contact Beatriz Varman at 713.799.7169 or
firstname.lastname@example.org or check the library Web site at:
The Medical School was deemed to be structurally sound following an accident at the Ross Sterling breezeway April 23 involving a Metro bus. Windows of the Medical School Building were damaged, but the street has reopened.