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Special Populations

This module provides an overview of caring for unique patient population groups, identify illnesses and disorders common to these groups, and discover ways to adapt care and establish positive relationships with patients. Students also learn patient restraints procedures and alternatives.

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The Special Populations module is designed according to the AES course framework, which includes four phases:

  1. Explore
  2. Learn & Practice
  3. Reflect
  4. Reinforce

Below you'll discover how AES can help you teach your students about caring for unique patient population groups according to these four phases.

Phase 1: Explore


Activity: Empathy for the Physically Impaired

In this activity, students work in groups to explore the sensitivity for the needs of physically impaired patients.

Phase 2: Learn & Practice


Unit 1: Pediatric Patients

In this unit, students will learn about: pediatric patients, families, and pediatric units. They learn about the developmental tasks and needs for infants through adolescence and define congenital disease and other diseases and conditions found in pediatric patients. 

  1. Introduction 
  2. Caring for Pediatrics 
  3. Health Conditions of Pediatrics 
  4. Quiz


Unit 2: Elderly Patients

In this unit, students will learn about: the elderly, including developmental changes and their effects, the health care workers role in long-term care facilities and meeting emotional and other unique needs of aging patients, OBRA, the Residents' Bill of Rights, the Ombudsman Program, recognizing signs of abuse, and types of in-home and community services for elderly patients. 

  1. Introduction 
  2. Effects of Aging 
  3. Caring for the Elderly 
  4. Special Needs of the Elderly 
  5. Quiz


Unit 3: Dealing with Death

In this unit, students will learn about: death and dying in a healthcare setting as they define terminal illness, rules and beliefs about death of several religions, the five stages of grief, and explore physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs of the terminally ill. They also learn about hospice care, signs of approaching death, moribund changes, and postmortem care. 

  1. Grief and Dying 
  2. Death and Postmortem Care 
  3. Quiz


Unit 4: Cognitively-Impaired Patients

In this unit, students will learn about: the types and needs of cognitively-impaired patients, including those with dementia, Alzheimer's, depression and mental illness. They learn how to communicate with patients, types of observations that health care workers should report, ways to help patients cope with stress, reality orientation techniques, and suicidal behaviors and appropriate ways to respond. 

  1. Dementia 
  2. Caring for Dementia Patients 
  3. Mental Illness 
  4. Caring for the Mentally Ill 
  5. Quiz


Unit 5: Physically & Developmentally Impaired Patients

In this unit, students will learn about: caring for patients with vision, hearing, and speech impairments, developmental disabilities and intellectual disabilities. They learn ways to communicate, guidelines for providing care, effects of intellectual disabilities, and principles of behavior modification. 

  1. Physically-Impaired 
  2. Developmentally-Impaired 
  3. Quiz


Unit 6: Restraints

In this unit, students will learn about: the purpose and types of restraints, as they explore the physical and emotional issues and legal guidelines of using restraints and alternatives to restraints. 

  1. Using Restraints 
  2. Quiz


Unit 7: Communication Exercise

In this exercise, students will observe a scenario involving communication between health care workers. After each scenario ending, students will answer questions to check their understanding. 

  1. Communication Exercise

Phase 3: Reflect


Activity: Reflection Questions and Discussion

In this activity, students will journal about provide support to families, treat patients with with dignity and respect, and help individuals adjust to a long-term care facility. A class discussion on these topics can follow.

Phase 4: Reinforce


Activity: Activity Calendar

In this activity, students work in groups to create an activity calendar for a long-term care facility. They will list the activities for a month, plan the details for one activity, which will include making a flyer to announce the event. The students can then, present their idea to the class.


Activity: Cultural Awareness Fair

In this project, students work individually to research a culture or religion that is different from their own, focusing on health care beliefs. Then students present their research to the class.


Activity: Current Event

Students will review articles for information related to a topic in the module. Once an article is found, students complete a Current Event form.

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