Collaborative framework for working with older simulated participants (SP)

Cathy M. Smith*, Lisa Guttman Sokoloff, Nemat Alsaba

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review



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. 


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. 


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


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-115
Number of pages4
JournalBMJ Simulation and Technology Enhanced Learning
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


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