Office of Palliative Care

Interprofessional Team-Based Education

Through simulated teams using standardized patients as caregivers, health professions students (and professionals) can experience the value of holistic team-based care. This educational model, emphasizing the caregiver as an essential team member, was collaboratively developed through the HRSA-funded Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP) at Summa Health System, Northeast Ohio.

Essential elements of the model are:

  • A comprehensive case scenario, with explicit learning objectives, involving eldercare issues and health disciplines that are representative of the learners.
  • Learners are assigned to interdisciplinary teams of 4-8 members, depending on the number of disciplines (i.e. medicine, pharmacy, nursing, social work, physical, speech or occupational therapy, nutrition, chaplaincy, emergency medical technicians, etc.).
  • Teams are seated at round tables for discussion.
  • Each learner is given the case scenario and information exclusive to their discipline. If certain disciplines are missing on the team, their information is available at the table in the form of a written report.
  • A standardized patient, trained as the family caregiver, is also given exclusive information to share with the team.
  • Each team has a facilitator who has been prepped in the nuances of the case as well as team process.
  • The team discusses the case for 20-30 minutes.
  • The team, including the caregiver, debriefs the case and team communication process for 30 mins.
  • Teams share what they learned (“aha” moments) with the whole group.


Margaret Sanders, M.A., LSW

Kathleen Enoch

Building Caregiver Partnerships

This site contains a free compendium of educational tools and resources on issues of family caregiving for health professions faculty, providers and students.

Co-sponsored with Summa Health and funded by the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations.

Office of Palliative Care

Department of Family & Community Medicine