GSA’s 4th Global Aging Forum Focuses on Connecting Community Partners

IAHSA recently the joined Gerontological Society of America to sponsor a forum on Global Aging: Connecting Community Partners. The forum took place on 18 November during GSA’s annual meeting Orlando, Florida and focused on international research and education efforts with particular attention on creating connections and partnerships.

Dr. Robyn Stone of LeadingAge’s Center for Applied Research (CFAR) remarked that IAHSA brings “boots on the ground” to the applied research community. IAHSA creates venues for research and serves as a means to connect parties interested in using research findings to improve practice. Through the IAHSA Applied Research Clearinghouse, IAHSA has established a platform for researchers to share their findings and for providers to learn. Taryn Patterson of IAHSA and LeadingAge and manager of the Clearinghouse, invited researchers to submit their work for publication.

Kathy McGilton, Senior Scientist at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute shared her research in the role of the registered nurse in long term care. McGilton’s findings confirm that the role is changing dramatically. Among the issues facing the RN is the burden of paper-work which prohibits RN’s from practicing their full scope of nursing competencies including person-centered care. Research that Kathy McGilton has underway in Spain is looking at factors that contribute to the effectiveness of the RN in long term care settings and understanding who is actually providing the care.

Professor Julienne Meyer of City University of London also described her work in the UK focused on quality in care homes. She suggested that the debate between “metrics and meaning” continues, particularly in the context of person-centered care. This debate prevents us from capturing the “naturally occurring innovation” that happens regularly in the care home setting.

Richard Browdie of the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging remarked that in long term care we have the problem of “learning while doing” which, given how hard it is, makes it difficult for providers to flock to idea of using research to guide practice. We need to better connect the utility of what we learn through research to quality which, ultimately, links to the economics of providing services and supports. “The intellectual, policy and operational triad need each other on the journey to improve aged care around the world.”

This Forum is the beginning of a series of Forums that IAHSA and GSA will conduct together leading up to the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (IAGG) conference in 2017.