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Certificate Program in Advanced Assessment of the Older Adult

The population of the United States is aging rapidly, with an estimated 25% of the population becoming age 65 or older by the year 2030. The social and health care needs of older adults are both unique and challenging. This certificate program will assist the nurse and/or health care provider in developing and refining skills useful in the assessment of older adults in the community and supported living environments.

Topics for discussion include the demographics of aging in the United States, age-related physical changes, physical and mental health, and functional assessment. We will also explore polypharmacy and pharmacokinetics in the older adult. Although the focus of the course is assessment, we will discuss management of certain acute and chronic health problems unique to aging.

In this certificate program participants learn to:

  • Complete a health history and physical assessment focusing on the unique needs of the older adult in a variety of settings
  • Describe age related changes
  • Assess for challenges related to changing pharmacokinetics and polypharmacy
  • Assess mental health needs
  • Assist in maximizing physical and mental function in community and supported living environments

A variety of teaching modalities, including interactive lectures, physical assessment practicum, case studies, and guest presenters will enhance the learning process.

Day One: Physical, Social and Psychological Assessment of the Older Adult: Part I

  • Demographics of older Americans
  • Social and economic issues unique to aging in the United States
  • The assessment process
  • Age related physical changes and physical exam of the older adult: Part I

Day Two: Physical, Social and Psychological Assessment of the Older Adult: Part II

  • Age related physical changes and physical exam of the older adult: Part II
  • Mental health assessment
  • Substance abuse and substance dependence
  • Chronic pain

Day Three: Medications and the Older Adult

  • Polypharmacy
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Medication and lifestyle management of common chronic health problems

Day Four: Functional Assessment and Optimizing Care of the Older Adult

  • Using assessment to maximize health in community and supported living environments

Gale Johnsen, PhD, MSN is a family nurse practitioner living in western Maine. She has extensive experience in geriatrics both in family practice and long-term care settings. She has taught at the graduate level for Simmons College, University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine, and the University of Southern Maine and regularly conducts workshops and seminars on geriatric topics.

4 Fridays, April 4-May 2, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Registration has ended. Please browse courses for future offerings of this course.

$575 (26 contact hours/ 2.6 CEUs)
Abromson Center, 88 Bedford Street, USM Portland campus


Class meets 4/4, 4/11, 4/18, and 5/2.