An older man is walking outside with a cane. A health professional is walking beside him, in an attitude of listening; photo source: Administration on Aging, DHHS Competency Demonstration

Communication Competency

Communicate effectively, respectfully, and compassionately with older adults and their families/caregivers.

A competency demonstration provides you with the opportunity to demonstrate that you have developed one or more of the Competencies for Working with Older Adults. Presentation: Competencies for Working with Older Adults

Demonstrate your Communication Competency by completing one of the following projects. We have provided you with a choice of projects. Choose one project. We do not expect you to do them all!

If you are using these materials for self-study, completing a competency demonstration gives you an end product that you can share with others for professional purposes, such as in a portfolio for employment application or as a demonstration of meeting a professional goal for an annual review. Once you have completed the competency demonstration, wait for at least 3 days and then use the criteria to evaluate your own work. Alternatively, you could ask another person to use the evaluation criteria and discuss your work with you.

If you are using these materials as part of an organized course or workshop, consult your course leader regarding how to turn in your completed competency demonstration.

 Picture of pencil and checklist Provide In-Service Education

Develop and present an in-service education session for staff at a clinical facility. Your presentation must address some aspect of communication and older adults. Write a summary that includes your rationale for selecting the topic and target audience (e.g., all staff, licensed staff, nursing assistants), location and date of the presentation, brief description of the presentation, and response of the attendees.

Write no more than three double-spaced pages of summary. Attach your bibliography and the materials that you used in the in-service (e.g., your teaching outline, handouts, PowerPoint presentation). If you have large or bulky audiovisual aids, you can send a photograph or written description of them. The bibliography and teaching materials you attach do not count in the three-page limit. 

Remember:

  • Write a maximum of three pages, double-spaced. (Attached bibliography and teaching materials do not count in the three pages.)
  • Maintain confidentiality by omitting identifying information.
  • Spell-check and proofread your written work. 

For a grade of pass, your demonstration will meet these criteria:

  • Appropriate rationale is provided for selection of the topic and the target audience.
  • Documentation includes where, when, and to whom the in-service was presented.
  • Content and level of the presentation match the target audience.
  • Materials used in the in-service demonstrate aspects of effective communication with older adults.
  • Presentation is supported by appropriate references from the professional literature.
  • The materials do not convey patient identifying information.
  • Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are accurate.
 Picture of pencil and checklist Adapt a Patient Education Brochure

Select and critique an existing patient education brochure. Adapt it for older adults, based on material in the learning activities for this competency (e.g., color, font type and size, contrast, readability). Write a summary of your critique and your rationale for changes. 

Write no more than two double-spaced pages of summary. Submit both the original patient education brochure and your adaptation.

Note: If you can recreate the brochure with changes, that is wonderful; however, we do not expect you to produce a professional printed brochure. An acceptable alternative would be to photocopy the brochure and mark on it what would need to be changed to make it appropriate for older adults. (You might even consider sending your recommendations for adapting the brochure to the organization that created the original.)

Remember:

  • Write a maximum of two pages, double-spaced. (Attached brochures do not count in the two pages.)
  • Spell-check and proofread your written work. 

For a grade of pass, your demonstration will meet these criteria:

  • Critique includes what is done well and what needs to be adapted for use by older adults.
  • Appropriate rationale is presented for the recommended changes.
  • Both original and adapted brochure are submitted.
  • Adapted brochure demonstrates effective communication with older adults.
  • Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are accurate.
 Picture of pencil and checklist Create a Patient Education Brochure

Create a new patient education brochure on a topic that is appropriate for older adults and is useful in your practice setting. Write a summary that provides your explanation for the selection of the topic, how this topic is important to older adults, and your rationale for the selected design (e.g., rationale for content, color, font type and size, layout, graphics, etc.). Include a bibliography of the references that you used to develop the content of the brochure.

Write no more than three double-spaced pages of summary. Submit both the summary and the brochure that you created. 

Remember:

  • Write a maximum of three pages, double-spaced. (Attached brochure and bibliography do not count in the three pages.)
  • Spell-check and proofread your written work. 

For a grade of pass, your demonstration will meet these criteria:

  • Rationale for selection of topic is clear.
  • Summary describes how the topic is important to older adults.
  • Summary identifies the characteristics of the brochure and why they were selected .
  • Created brochure demonstrates effective communication with older adults.
  • Content of the brochure is supported by appropriate references from the professional literature.
  • Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are accurate.
 Picture of pencil and checklist Compile a Resource Binder

Create a loose-leaf resource binder with at least ten examples of adaptive equipment or other devices used to facilitate communication with older adults. The resource binder should be constructed to serve as a viable resource for staff, family members, and older adults who live in your geographic area. Each item selected must have the following characteristics:

  • Affordable (under $100) 
  • Easy to use
  • Accessible by individuals in your area (includes by mail or other delivery method)

You can include brochures and catalogs of resources that you have obtained via the mail and printed materials from the Internet for resources that are available for purchase online. Write a summary of the process of developing the binder and your rationale for selecting the resources you included.

Write no more than three double-spaced pages of summary. Submit both the summary and the resource binder. 

Remember:

  • For your summary, write a maximum of three pages, double-spaced.
  • Be sure to submit the resource binder as well as your summary.
  • Spell-check and proofread your written work. 

For a grade of pass, your demonstration will meet these criteria:

  • Resource binder contains ten or more examples of items useful to facilitate communication with older adults. 
  • Each item selected has the following characteristics:
    • Affordable (under $100)
    • Easy to use
    • Accessible by individuals in the local area where the person who created the resource binder lives
  • Summary includes discussion of process of binder development and clear rationale for selected resource items.
  • Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are accurate.
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