FYI: Free Online Course About Caring For Older Adults In Critical Care Hospital Units

The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) and American Academy of Nursing (AAN), Washington, recently launched "Best Practices for Elder Care," a free online continuing education course that focuses on the complex needs of older patients in acute and critical-care hospital units.

Funded by a grant from New York University's Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing and available to all nurses on the AACN Web site at, the online course provides a framework for elder care, incorporating best practices related to hospitalized elders and addressing the physiological changes that take place during aging. The interactive design of the three-module course includes links to best practice articles and supplementary educational Web sites.

Members of AAN's Expert Panel on Acute and Critical Care developed initial course content. Expert geriatric nurses and advanced-degree student content specialists reviewed the course, piloted by the AAN panel members and 10 AACN staff nurses.

Past and present AACN members who served on the AAN panel include its chair Ruth Kleinpell, PhD, RN, APRN-BC, FAAN, as well as Mary Lou Sole, PhD, RN, FAAN, University of Central Florida, Orlando; Richard Arbour, PhD, RN, FAAN, Albert Einstein Healthcare Network, Pittsburgh; Hilaire Thompson, PhD, RN, FAAN, University of Washington, Seattle; Carol Reineck, PhD, RN, FAAN, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio; Shirley Moore, PhD, RN, FAAN, Case Western Reserve University, Francis Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Cleveland; Therese Richmond, PhD, RN, FAAN, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Philadelphia.

Linda Bell, RN, MSN, AACN clinical practice specialist, endorses "Best Practices for Elder Care" as a needed primer for nurses who care for this advanced-age patient population. She says patients 75-years-of-age and older constitute a high number of acute care admissions because of their high rate of co-morbidities, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and hypertension.

"Every day, nurses see thousands of older adults in a hospital setting that includes emergency rooms, critical care units and cardiac catheterization labs. This course, presented from the perspective of caregivers, focuses on the multifaceted problems specific to an older adult patient in acute and critical-care units," Bell explains.

Nurses earn four hours of continuing nurse education (CNE) for completing "Best Practices for Elder Care." AACN offers CNE credit at no charge to AACN members. Non-members can opt to remit a reduced fee of $12 to receive a CNE certificate.

American Academy of Nursing