U of S health science students honoured for efforts to improve quality of life for seniors

An education initiative that partners U of S health science students with seniors from Luther Tower, an independent living facility close to campus, has received recognition for its efforts to improve the quality of care to a growing population of seniors in Saskatoon.

The Longitudinal Elderly Person Shadowing (LEPS) project is a partnership with LutherCare Communities and pairs student groups with an assigned senior companion four times over a three-month period. During that time, students and their senior take part in casual guided conversations familiarizing students with the physical, social, emotional and spiritual aspects of aging.

"Health education is becoming more collaborative and interprofessional. Our next generation of health care professionals must be responsive to this shift and bridge any disciplinary gaps in their efforts to better serve that important demographic," said Dr. Marcel D'Eon, program leader from the College of Medicine.

Since its start in 2007, more than 400 students from medicine, nursing, pharmacy, nutrition, physical therapy and social work have participated in the program gaining practical community-based experience.

"The population of seniors in Canada is growing, and will be increasingly represented in our public health care system," says D'Eon.

Ongoing evaluation has demonstrated high levels of satisfaction from both students and their senior partners, as well as significant improvements in student perceptions of older individuals.

In 2012, the LEPS was awarded the U of S Provost's Prize in Innovative Practice and Collaborative Teaching and Learning.

The Saskatchewan Health Quality Council has awarded the 2014 Pursuing Excellence Better Teams Award to the LEPS project. The program leaders and students will receive the award at the Health Care Quality Summit on May 6 in Saskatoon.


For more information:

Lesley Porter

Communications Coordinator, Council of Health Science Deans


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