Photograph of a man doing home repairs in an older adult's home; photo source: Administration on Aging, DHHS Competency Demonstration

Maximizing Function Competency

Plan, implement, and evaluate care that assists older adults and their families/caregivers to meet personal goals, express preferences, maximize function, maintain desired level of autonomy and independence, and live in their chosen environment.

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 Maximizing Function 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 Older Adult Focus 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 Older Adult Focus 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 Assessment of Person-Environment Fit 

Assess the living environment of an older adult who does not live in an institution. Consider the characteristics (present and future) of the specific older adult who lives in this environment. Identify at least three actual or potential problems (areas of suboptimal person-environment fit). Suggest ways (home modifications and/or assistive devices) to optimize person-environment fit for this older adult, with special awareness of functional, cognitive, and sensory changes common in old age.

Write a maximum of three double-spaced pages about the older adult and the problems (areas of suboptimal person-environment fit) you found in his or her living environment. List and discuss your suggested home modifications and/or assistive devices, providing rationale for the usefulness of each suggestion for this person and this setting. Use the professional literature to help you develop your suggestions to optimize person-environment fit. Attach one page of home environment assessment data and your bibliography. The environmental assessment data and bibliography do not count in the page limit.

Remember:

  • Write a maximum of three pages, double-spaced. (Attached environmental assessment data and bibliography 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:

  • Paper uses the person-environment fit framework.
  • Pertinent characteristics of the older adult are summarized.
  • The materials do not convey patient identifying information.
  • Home environment assessment data are presented in an organized fashion.
  • At least three areas of suboptimal person-environment fit are identified. 
  • Identified areas of suboptimal person-environment fit are supported by the data provided.
  • Suggestions for home modifications and/or assistive devices are individualized for the older adult, with rationale for their usefulness for this person in this environment.
  • Text incorporates ideas from the professional literature that is listed in the bibliography.
  • Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are accurate.
 Picture of pencil and checklist Maximizing Function Case Report

Using a case example from your work setting or personal life, write a narrative case report that demonstrates how you assessed, planned, and evaluated care for an older adult (a person aged 65 or older). Your case report should demonstrate how your care helped to maximize the person's function, maintain his or her desired level of autonomy and independence, and/or enable the person to live in his or her chosen environment. Your case report must address some aspect of optimizing person-environment fit (e.g., through environmental modifications or adaptive devices), managing challenging behaviors, and/or working with older adults and caregivers. Your case report should not be a comprehensive case report. It should focus on two actual or potential problem areas.

Include the following in your case report:

Assessment

  • Identify at least two potential or actual problem areas that you addressed. Complete a focused assessment in each of these identified problem areas. (Remember the focused assessments from the Assessment and Adapting Care Competencies.) Include the reason for the assessment and the data collected in the assessment. Include assessment of the older adult's or caregiver's personal goals related to each identified area. You may attach the assessment data at the end of your narrative text if you wish. However, be sure to summarize relevant portions of it in the text.
  • CONFIDENTIALITY ALERT !!! Be sure that you omit ALL identifying patient information. Providing patient identifiers will automatically result in you not passing this competency demonstration.

Plan

  • Describe at least two interventions for each of the identified areas discussed above. Your interventions should be realistic and directly applicable to the specific individual and his/her environment. Use the professional literature to assist in developing your interventions. Your interventions may be simple or complex. The important aspect is that your interventions focus on maximizing function of the specific individual, maintaining his or her desired level of autonomy, or enabling the person to live in his or her chosen environment.
  • Implement at least two interventions.
  • Discuss briefly with whom you collaborated in formulating the plan and implementing portions of it (at least two interventions).
  • List the resources from the professional literature that you used to develop your interventions. Attach your list as a bibliography at the end of your narrative text.

Evaluation

  • For the two (minimum) interventions that you implemented, discuss what went well, what did not go well, and what you would do differently next time.
  • Explain to what degree the personal goals of the older adult or caregiver were met.

Your maximizing function case study should be a narrative (text) rather than in chart form. It should be no longer than five double-spaced pages. Attached assessment data and your bibliography are in addition to the five pages of text.

Remember:

  • Write a maximum of five pages, double-spaced. (Assessment data and bibliography do not count in the five pages.)
  • Use only one initial  (e.g., Mrs. M.) in order to maintain confidentiality. Do not include any HIPPA-designated patient identifiers. Remove all patient identifiers from assessment forms. If you provide patient identifiers, your competency demonstration will automatically receive a grade of no pass.
  • Spell-check and proofread your written work.

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

  • Assessment data support the identification of the problem areas addressed.
  • The materials do not convey patient identifying information.
  • Plan is directed toward maximizing the older adult's function, maintaining his or her desired level of autonomy and independence, and/or enabling the older adult to live in his or her chosen environment.
  • Interventions are supported by references from the professional literature.
  • At least two interventions are implemented and evaluated.
  • Personal goals of the older adult or caregiver are addressed.
  • Narrative provides evidence of collaboration with the older adult, family/caregiver, and/or other members of the health care team.
  • Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are accurate.
 Picture of pencil and checklist Provide an Education Session

Design and deliver an education session that teaches ways to maximize function for older adults. This session can be caregiver education, patient education, or in-service education for colleagues or assistive personnel.  For example, you could provide a 30-minute in-service presentation in your workplace or a presentation to a monthly caregiver support group. Your education session must address some aspect of optimizing person-environment fit (e.g., through environmental modifications or adaptive devices), managing challenging behaviors, or working with older adults and caregivers. Use the professional literature to assist in developing your education session. Write a summary that includes the following:

  • target audience
  • brief description of the topic
  • explanation of why this topic is of importance to your audience
  • location and date of the presentation
  • brief description of the presentation
  • 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 education session (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 teaching materials and bibliography 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:

  • Topic is clearly delineated.
  • Pertinence of the topic to the target audience is explained convincingly.
  • Documentation includes where, when, and to whom the education session was presented.
  • Presentation is supported by appropriate references from the professional literature.
  • Content and level of the presentation match the target audience.
  • Materials used in the education session demonstrate ways of maximizing function for older adults.
  • Audience response to topic is discussed.
  • The materials do not convey patient identifying information.
  • Spelling, grammar, and punctuation are accurate.

Revised 2010

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