Developmental Perspectives in Context 2: Adults, Ageing and Beyond (200204)

Unit Type Core Unit
Credit Points 10
Delivery Mode Face to face onsite, e-Learning (online), Mixed / blended, Part Time

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:

By the end of this  unit, students, using a developmental perspective, knowledge of development  relevant to the transition to, and through, older age and  relevant mental illness, and reference to the student’s work setting and role in recovery-oriented care will be able to:


Critically appraise and apply knowledge of health inequities and risk and protective factors for successful maintenance of mental health in later life to advocate for mental health of older people in a selected setting.


Critically appraise the impact of developmental changes in social and family relationships on the application of recovery-oriented care.


Demonstrate an ability to prioritise and synthesise information, and communicate this accurately and appropriately through collaborative care planning with an older person with cognitive impairment and their carer.


Demonstrate the ability to formulate an integrated understanding of the 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.


Demonstrate an understanding of developmental stages, relevant cultural attitudes, beliefs and communication requirements through construction and justification of an ethical and recovery-oriented approach to engagement, assessment and diagnosis with older people and their supporters.


Critically appraise the implications for management of older people in regard to recent neuroscience research.