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Collaborative framework for working with older simulated participants (SP)
  1. Cathy M Smith1,
  2. Lisa Guttman Sokoloff1,2,
  3. Nemat Alsaba3,4
  1. 1 Training and Simulation, Centre for Education, Baycrest Health Sciences, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2 Faculty of Medicine, Department of Speech-Language Pathology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  3. 3 Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine, Bond University, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
  4. 4 Department of Emergency Medicine, Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Cathy M Smith, Training and Simulation, Centre for Education, Baycrest Health Sciences, Toronto, ON M6A 2E1, Canada; smith.cathy06{at}


Introduction As the global population ages, healthcare providers must prepare for the complexities associated with caring for older adults, defined according to the WHO, as being over the age of 60. Simulation-based education in healthcare allows caregivers to practice and master skills and competencies associated with care of older adults. Simulated patients/participants (SP), well people trained to portray other individuals, are an effective choice when training behavioural skills (eg, communication). When working with older SPs, it is important to recognise unique considerations and requirements related to physiological changes, in physical, cognitive and sensory systems associated with normal ageing.

Method SP educators from two different countries, with diverse backgrounds and contexts, collaborated through an iterative, consensus-based process to create a framework for working with older SPs.

Results A practical three-phase framework with specific strategies was developed that synthesised elements of best practices related to simulation methodology with relevant clinical evidence.

Discussion Effective collaboration with older SPs is achievable through investing resources in preparing, training and ensuring their well-being. Through faculty development of healthcare simulation educators, we can ensure that older SPs and simulation communities have the right tools and support to safely and effectively contribute to simulation-based education.

  • faculty development
  • simulated patient
  • simulation-based education

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  • Contributors All authors were major contributors in writing and editing the manuscript at all stages of work. CS took the lead on drafting the paper. NA took the lead on drafting Figure 1. All authors worked on revisions and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement No data are available. Data sharing is not applicable to this article as no data set was generated or analysed for this report.

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