Changes in Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) in New Enrollees in a Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)

Scott M. Vouri, PharmD, BCPS, CGP

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

4:30-5:30 p.m.

Whelpley Hall 4025

The public is invited.

St. Louis University Summer Geriatric Institute

        The ORA will be presenting a workshop at the St. Louis Summer Geriatric Institute on Wednesday, June 4 from 1 to 2:45 p.m. The purpose of this workshop will be to play the Geriatric Medication Game. Members of the College faculty who are familiar with the Game will be facilitators. This is an excellent opportunity to experience the Game as it is played. There is a limit of 25 players. Persons desiring to play the Game should reserve space as soon as possible.

Prof. Vouri Awarded ORA Research Funds

        Professor Scott Vouri, PharmD., BCPS, CGP has received an ORA research grant of $1,000 toward his study of "Changes in Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) in New Enrollees in a Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)." The PACE program is a complex type of adult day care which provides not only socialization services but also clinical services. Dr. Vouri and his colleagues, Stephanie Seaton, Pharm.D., and Pharm.D. candidates Shane Austin, Marquita Martin, and Ashley Gordon seek to learn if access to these services, plus the increased socialization will have an impact on the mood of program participants who have depressive symptoms when they enter the program. The goal is to more judiciously consider the utilization of antidepressants for patients in such broad service programs.

The ORA: Focus on Healthy Aging

The founders of our Office for Research on Aging were inspired by the National Senior Olympic Games. Literally. St. Louis College of Pharmacy faculty members joined forces nearly 25 years ago to study the characteristics of athletes 50 years old and older who competed in the biennial multi-sport competition, held for the first time in St. Louis in 1987 and again in 1989: What were the fitness regimens of these senior athletes? Their leisure activities? Their reasons for competing? Our research developed the concept of “competitive health,” a perspective in which seniors express their own good health through comparisons to peers or stereotypes—and prompted us to formally establish STLCOP’s Office for Research on Aging (ORA) in 1993.

Aging in place.
There’s a lot that goes into life satisfaction among older adults. We’ve examined common senior community activities—including volunteer work and religious behavior—to understand their psychological and social effects on older adults. We’re also seeking to understand the perspective of older people by studying their photographs for indicators as to what it’s like to age in their particular communities.Now the ORA conducts research about older people in general, while teaching health care professionals about the perspectives of the elderly and serving as a resource for information on older adults and aging. Driven by such far-reaching concerns, our research covers a lot of ground. We examine the physiological aspects of aging as well as the psychological, social, and cultural dimensions of growing older. We conduct basic scientific, as well as clinical research, with a focus on:

  • Perceptions of older adults. We want to know how students perceive older adults, as well. Each year, the ORA conducts a survey of first-years designed to elicit their perceptions of seniors, while checking in with fifth-year students to see whether their view of seniors has changed during their time at STLCOP.
  • Age-related dementia. Among our ongoing projects is a gerontological research program we sponsor in collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC) of Washington University. Through this program, a selected second-year STLCOP student develops and submits a dementia-related research project to the ADRC. Once a mentorship with an ADRC researcher is agreed upon, the student works with the ADRC mentor on the project and develops it over the next couple years.

We’re working as well to disseminate the knowledge we uncover at the ORA through our Geriatric Medication Game©, an educational role-playing activity in which the players assume the identity of an older person. The game acquaints students in various health careers—including those in STLCOP’s Professional Communications course—with the issues and challenges older adults face as they navigate our health care system, and typically increases students’ sympathy and understanding.

We also serve as a resource for researchers interested in setting up a gerontological study or seeking information on older adults. ORA holds lectures open to the public each fall and spring, and publishes a newsletter called The Office Report.