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Perceptions of Therapeutic Recreation Graduates in Ability to Perform Gerontological Competencies in Ontario LongTerm Care Homes.

The population is aging at a rapid pace (Carter, Van Andel, & Robb, 2003). Dosman and Cranswick (2008) estimate that by 2056, the proportion of Canadians 65 and over will double to 1 in 4 and the proportion of seniors over 80 will triple to 1 in 10 in comparison to 1 in 30 recorded in 2005. The Ministry of Health and Long Term Care Ontario (2014) reports that there are over 75,000 people living in long-term care (LTC) homes. These residents' interdisciplinary care services include therapeutic recreation (Government of Ontario, 2007). Murray and Coyle (as cited in Witman et al, 2009) identified issues that therapeutic recreation (TR) professionals need to consider: (1) The aging population is an opportunity for expanded service delivery and (2) Modeling professional identity and behaviours relevant to competent practice. Areas of concern are practice duties and responsibilities beyond traditional scope of TR practice, including competencies required for other disciplines, such as geriatric competencies.

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to examine the confidence levels of TR graduates in performing gerontological competencies in long-term care homes and understand their perceived gaps in performing gerontological competencies.

METHODS: A descriptive quantitative study was conducted. A survey was developed and distributed to 500 LTC facilities in Ontario based on Dillman's (2007) survey techniques. Two sets of gerontological competencies were used in the survey, one set of competencies included the National Institute of Care for the Elderly's (n.d.) interprofessional core competencies, and the other set was based on findings from McCleary et al.'s (2014) needs assessment. T-tests, ANOVAs and correlations were used to determine the differences between the perceived competencies of recreation staff with TR education and recreation staff without TR education. The competencies were written on a Likert scale from 1 to 5,1 being low confidence in the competency and 5 being high confidence in the competency.

RESULTS: TR graduates (n = 76) reported having low confidence in completing Resident Assessment Instrument-Minimum Data Set (n = 32, 42.1%), assessing spirituality (n = 20, 26.3%), and assessing physical health and illness conditions (n = 15,19.7%). The TR graduates revealed that learning about aging topics in courses are associated with confidence levels in gerontological competencies (f[57.94] = 2.42, p = .02) and that internship/placement experience was not associated with confidence levels in gerontological competencies (F[5, 59] = 1.24, p = .31). When TR graduates were asked about preparedness to work with older adults in LTC, experience was indicated as the most important factor to prepare respondents to work with older adults in LTC. Education was indicated at the least important factor.

CONCLUSION: Overall, this research is relevant to recreation staff, recreation managers and TR educators. It is the intent that this exploratory research will raise awareness to recreation managers and TR educators of recreation staffs current confidence in their ability to perform gerontological competencies needed to practice TR in LTC homes. Additionally, the results of this study will assist in improving current education and training that focus on gerontological competencies needed for LTC.

References

Carter, M. J., Van Andel, G. E., & Robb, G. M. (2003). Therapeutic recreation: A practical approach (3rd ed.). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press.

Dillman, D. A. (2007). Mail and Internet surveys: The tailored design method (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Dosman, D, & Cranswick, K. (2008). Eldercare: What we know today. Retrieved from http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/subject-sujet/result-resultat?pid=2966&id=29678dang=eng8?type=STUDIES&sortType=2&pageNum=1

Government of Ontario. (2007) Long-term care homes act. Retrieved from http://www.Ontariocanada.com/registry/view.do?post in-gld=6162&language=en

McCleary, L., Luinstra-Toohey, L., Hoogeveen, K., Boscart, V., & Donahue, P. (2014). Perceptions and practitioner organizations about gaps and required competencies for seniors' care among health and social care graduates and workers: Needs assessment conducted for the council of Ontario universities. Retrieved from http://cou.on.ca/news/commentaryevents/events/senior-s-summit-2014

National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly, (n.d.). Core interprofessional competencies for gerontology. Retrieved from http://www.nicenet.ca/nles/NICE_Competencies.pdf

Witman, J. P., Kinney, W. B., Sable, J. R., & Kinney, J.S. (2009). Perspective: Curricular standardization in therapeutic recreation: Professional and university implications. In N. J. Stumbo (Ed.), Professional issues in therapeutic recreation (pp. 165-184). Urbana, IL: Sagamore.

Kristin Prentice, B.S., CTRS, Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
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Author:Prentice, Kristin
Publication:Annual in Therapeutic Recreation
Geographic Code:1CONT
Date:Jan 1, 2017
Words:725
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