This online syllabus, schedule, and lecture materials are part of a graduate course entitled “Managing Long-Term Care Services for Aging Populations” offered by the Department of Health Policy and Management at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. It is one of the courses students from different disciplines can take towards a “Certificate in Gerontology.”
The course focuses on long-term care services delivery programs (mostly housing options) for seniors. Learners are presented with a series of 14 self-study modules in which they are provide a framework for planning, organizing, delivering and evaluating/ improving these services. They are also given a basic introduction to the changing demographics of the aging population and the special medical, psychological, functional, social and economic needs of the elderly.
The modules are used as self-study material in preparation for lectures offered during the course.
The student will be able to:
Discuss the changing demographics of the aging population and the impact of these changes on the demand for long-term care services
Describe the special medical, psychological, functional, social, and economic needs of the elderly and match these needs to an appropriate long-term care service option.
Outline a framework for planning, organizing, delivering and evaluating/ improving long-term care service (senior housing) options along the continuum of care.
Discuss the legal, regulatory and public policy issues relevant to managing long-term care settings.
Target Student Population:
This material is part of a 2006 graduate level course students at Johns Hopkins could be taken as an elective that counts towards a certificate in gerontology. It is most valuable to those who are involved in planning and marketing senior housing options.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
The course appears to be open to graduate students from all disciplines. A previous basic course in public health and/or aging will be beneficial to the learner.
Type of Material:
This course could be used as a guide for instructors, self-study, or reference.
The technical requirements include a computer with Internet access, a web browser, Acrobat reader and presentation software.
Evaluation and Observation
Much of the content and the ideas presented are relevant despite the serious concerns about the specific data presented being outdated. Module 9 on “The Human Equation of Service Quality” was focused but very informative and useful.
The quality of individual modules is variable but on average needs improvement.
The content is about 10 years old and very outdated in certain areas. Many of the statistics provided change annually and annual updates are readily available in the literature. Information is presented as “recent” in the narrative, but it appears that some of the pages in the modules were created in 2002 and have not been changed since
The main concern is that virtually no references are provided with an occasional partial reference. Other authors must receive proper credit for their work.
Some data presented (e.g., racial differences in rates of Alzheimer’s disease) is actually incorrect and potentially misleading.
Occasionally graphs and charts are presented that do not clearly stand alone and are not sufficiently explained in the text which could potentially add to the reader’s misconceptions about the aging population and process.
In some modules more advanced concepts and terminology are introduced without providing an adequate basis which makes it difficult for these modules to stand alone.
On a number of occasions, a vague reference was made to an existing program or company but there was a lack of detail about the program so the reader could not clearly see what concept was illustrated. Some more detailed case illustrations would add richness and flavor to the material.
Other times there was comparatively too much information about a topic (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease) without linking it adequately to different long-term care service options.
Although the content has some merit this resource not be used in the present form without significant updating of the data and appropriately referencing the content.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
Individual modules could easily be assigned in preparation for a class discussion. Each module can be completed in 10-15 minutes.
Aside from using it as advanced preparation for a class discussion, these modules have limited utility. In many cases the content needs further explanation or clarification.
A long list of learning objectives is included in the syllabus and they are generally aligned with the content of the modules but lack a natural flow. Then there are additional learning objectives included on the schedule provides that seem to be more closely aligned with the individual modules. In the actual modules, no learning objectives are presented and it may be worthwhile to reiterate them. To simplify, it may be worthwhile to create one coherent set of objectives that follow the flow in which material is presented in the course. This can be accompanied by a much smaller set of learning goals up front.
At times concepts are reinforced and some relationships between concepts are made, but the flow of the order in which material is presented hampers this. Some basic concepts about aging and the older population are not introduced until a later module and this content would have provided a good foundation for the remainder of the modules.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The material on the website is clearly laid out and easy to access with a straightforward menu bar to the left of the main page. The individual pages in the modules are generally laid out with a brief bulleted outline of the major points for each page followed by a discussion of these bullets. On the schedule, it is clear which modules belong to which lecture. The amount of content on each page is manageable.
The flow of ideas/modules seems counterintuitive with some basic/background information presented in later modules.
There is occasional unnecessary redundancy in information presented in the modules
The modules/lectures are not numbered or laid out in the order which they are included in the course.
There is inconsistency in language (Course Manual Modules versus Lectures) and it would be easier if the same term was used throughout.
Abbreviations/acronyms used in the modules are sometimes not defined or defined in later modules
Occasionally vague references to studies are made (e.g., one study of case management found …) without citing the full reference or incomplete references are provided.
Layout of information on some individual pages could be improved. There is odd empty space on quite a few.
There generally is room on each page to include the references used.
The modules would benefit from a grammar and spell check although these issues were relatively minor.
Other Issues and Comments:
Information from the course may provide a guideline for instructors, but the course material should be updated prior to use with learners. The most recent reference noted was 2003.