Developmental Perspectives in Context 2: Adults, Ageing and Beyond

Developmental Perspectives in Context 2: Adults, Ageing and Beyond

Graduate Diploma
Semester 2

In an ageing society the wellbeing, mental health care and end-of-life management of the ageing, and older people with mental illness is a priority faced by medical practitioners within a range of practice settings. The developmental perspective shifts within this unit as students focus from adulthood to later life and beyond in relation to the ongoing needs of older consumers with mental illness, their partners, carers and families.

Using the CanMEDS domains of Collaborator and Health Advocate students will challenge ageism and the stigma associated with age in continuing an ethically-based, recovery–oriented approach to collaborative mental health care with older people. Students will learn about ongoing neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative changes that occur in later life and extend their collaborative practice skills and knowledge in psychiatry for the older person.

In exploring the experiences of older people, students will explore symptoms of specific conditions including affective disorders, psychoses and dementia. They will extend their skills into neuropsychiatric assessment, applied imaging and investigations, advocacy, assessment and management of challenging behaviours and the development of effective communication skills. Students will also explore suicide in older people and the legal aspects related to decision-making.


Learning Outcomes

  • Health inequities and risk and protective factors for successful maintenance of mental health in later life.
  • The impact of developmental changes in social and family relationships on the application of recovery-oriented care.
  • Accurate and appropriate communication to support collaborative care planning with an older person with cognitive impairment and their carer.
  • Factors contributing to an older person’s presentation in common psychiatric emergencies and the appropriate application of mental health and related legislation including Guardianship, Testamentary capacity and Advance Directives, under supervision.
  • Recovery-oriented approaches to engagement, assessment and diagnosis with older people and their supporters.
  • The implications for management of recent neuroscience research.

Teaching Schedule
Topic 1 Can I Look Forward to Older Age?
Topic 2 Adapting Practice for Older People
Topic 3 Adapting Treatment for the Older Person
Topic 4 Depression and Suicide in Older People
Topic 5 Is My Memory Going?
Topic 6 6 “He’s not how he used to be…”: Personality Change and Psychoses in Older People
Topic 7 Disturbed Behaviour in Older People
Topic 8 Legal Dilemmas – Enabling Consent or Allowing Neglect?
Topic 9 Anxiety in Later Life