Oita University of Nursing and Health Sciences

The COC program of Oita University of Nursing and Health Sciences

The population of Japan is projected to decrease from 128 million in 2005 to 95 million in 2050 partially due to a declining birthrate, and the proportion of those aged 65 years or older is projected to rise from 23% in 2005 to 40% in 2050 (Statistics Bureau 2010). The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) established the Center of the Community (COC) Program in 2013 as a national governmental measure to address the problems confronting our aging society. The COC program aims at increasing the role of universities in the local community by having them play a central role in concentrating various human resources, information and technology for societal progress, and by promoting community-oriented education, research and social activities with local governments to contribute to the solution of challenges facing the community. Of 319 proposals for consideration that year only fifty-two (16.3%) were selected, including our proposal entitled “The Practicum of Community Development through Preventive Home Visiting of Nursing Students to the Elderly”.

 

Our undergraduate enrollment is 320 students and our COC practicum consists of 80 groups of four students (a freshman, sophomore, junior and senior) and two faculty that do home visits to the local elderly. The subjects of the visits are volunteers aged 75 and older living in the towns surrounding our campus. Each group visits one subject approximately once every three months, with each student visiting the same subject over four years. However, each academic year sees graduated seniors replaced by matriculating freshmen, who are mentored by their new group members. In the visits, student groups provide health promotion and prevention to the elderly, and provide advice and solutions in collaboration with health and welfare professionals. They also participate in health education classes for residents in local community centers.

 

The COC practicum hopes to address the problems of the elderly and the problems caused by a lack of human resources with the goal of contributing to the improvement of the overall health of the community. Through regular continuous visits, our students are aiming to prevent functional deterioration and diseases of the local elderly, and those who are assessed to need immediate support are referred to appropriate facilities with their self-consent. Our hope is that our COC curriculum will improve the QOL of the elderly in the local community and help prepare our students to meet their future challenge as nursing professionals in an ever aging society.

 

updated: 01/10/2016