• Perceived Competencies for Seniors Care in Long Term Care Homes: An Examination in Therapeutic Recreation Undergraduate Curricula

      Prentice, Kristin; Applied Health Sciences Program
      Therapeutic recreation (TR) is an important contributor to the health and well-being of residents living in long term care (LTC). In order to enhance quality of life of residents, it is essential that Therapeutic Recreationists have gerontological competencies and knowledge relevant to LTC. The confidence levels of Therapeutic Recreationists (n = 130) and recreation staff (n = 357) in performing gerontological competencies in long term care, Therapeutic Recreationists’ perceived gaps in their gerontological competencies and TR educators’ perceptions on graduates’ competencies were examined. A quantitative descriptive study was conducted. A survey was distributed to long term care homes in Ontario. Results indicated that recreation staff (1) have the least amount of confidence in writing care plans and assessing spirituality; (2) they have the most confidence in implementing programs for residents with dementia and physical disabilities, and recognizing that resident behaviour is communication based on need; and (3) have higher confidence if they took in-service training and continuing education courses. TR graduates have the least amount of confidence in completing RAI-MDS, assessing spirituality, and assessing physical health and illness conditions. The recent TR graduates revealed that learning about aging topics in courses is associated with confidence levels in gerontological competencies and that internship/placement experience was not associated with confidence levels in gerontological competencies. Further research should examine gerontological competencies and gerontological content in TR curricula including practitioner perspectives of required competencies and gaps in the LTC setting. This study can assist educators in designing programs for TR candidates that may better prepare them for working with residents in LTC.