Interdisciplinary team education promotes innovations in the home care of older people

Kaisu H. Pitkälä*, Harriet Finne-Soveri, Susanna Immonen, Tuuli Lehti, Ida Tiilikainen, Teppo Vesterinen, Esa Saarinen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This article describes a new type of team training that involves undergraduate students of medicine, students from the Aalto University (industrial engineering and management, architecture, information networks, collaborative and industrial design and bioinformation technology) and specialized home care nurses. During the course, the students learned interdisciplinary teamwork and created innovations in the care of older people. The 18 participants formed six microteams (three persons in each team: one specialized nurse, one medical student and one from Aalto University). The course consisted of two seminars and 3 full days of home visits to older people’s homes. Participants were encouraged to make one innovation in each home visit that would improve the older person’s well-being or streamline the processes of home care. During the course, the participants promptly formed tight teams. They valued the know-how of the other team members and learned openly from each other. They also created a number of practical innovations in home care which they presented to executives of older people’s care in a final seminar. The course received very good feedback from the students. This course is an encouraging example of how gerontological interdisciplinary team training may be successfully applied. The article describes both the learning outcomes and the innovations the students produced during their home visits. It also discusses the learning theories behind effective interdisciplinary team learning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-287
Number of pages12
JournalEducational Gerontology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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