Training occupational therapists in the care of the elderly with dementia and their caregivers: Focus on collaboration

Laura N. Gitlin, Mary Corcoran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


In this article we describe a funded, innovative field-based training program for senior occupational therapy students to provide a state-of-the-art service model to the elderly and their caregivers in the home. The 9-month program addresses the urgent need for advanced training in collaborative, caregiver-centered treatment approaches that focus on the environmental forces shaping behavior and management practices. Students progress through three phases of professional development: (a) understanding the aging process, assessment and treatment in the home, and collaboration with informal providers (the caregivers), (b) collaboration with formal providers while comparing and contrasting one’s own professional role with other professional roles, and (c) dissemination of information about the training and service model at local and state conferences. Under closely supervised field-based experiences, students refine their knowledge base through the development and implementation of interventions and in-services for older adults, their caregivers, and formal care providers in a variety of settings: the client’s heme, adult day-care centers, clinics, and professional conferences. Evaluations from caregivers demonstrate the effectiveness of the program and the importance of training students in a service model that focuses on collaboration and the environmental forces that shape behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)591-605
Number of pages15
JournalEducational Gerontology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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