AARP’S Online Research Databases (10-08-07)
One of the American rituals of moving into the fifth decade of living is to find an envelope in our mailboxes asking us to join AARP. Some of us join, others don’t, but none of us should miss out on the online resources of AARP’s Web site (www.aarp.org/research/). Interestingly, these resources not only are relevant to older persons but also cut across all of the six broad practice areas identified in AOTA’s Centennial Vision: children and youth; health and wellness; mental health; productive aging; rehabilitation, disability, and participation; and work and industry. AARP’s research-based resources reflect the most recent phase in evidence-based practice (EBP)—to provide health professionals and consumers with rapid access to evidence-based information.
AARP’s Research Information Center regularly updates two free searchable research databases that contain evidence-based information: Ageline and AgeSource Worldwide. Ageline contains abstracts of the literature from the social and health sciences and public policy. AgeSource Worldwide provides links to more than 300 clearinghouses, libraries, databases, directories, and Web portals around the world that focus on aging and allied subjects, with an emphasis on evidence-based information.
When searching the AgeSource Worldwide database, using the key words “evidence based,” you’ll find that the following 3 of the 17 links are immensely relevant to occupational therapy practice and present information within an evidence-based perspective.
Evidence Reports From the European Region of the World Health Organization (WHO)
WHO’s Health Evidence Network (HEN): Evidence for Decision Makers contains commissioned evidence-based reports and summaries that are responsive to policy questions, such as: (1) What are the main risk factors for disability in old age and how can disability be prevented? (2) How can injuries in children and older adults be prevented? (3) What is the effectiveness of home visits or home-based support for older adults? and (4) What are the palliative care needs of older adults, and how might they be met? Consider subscribing to the online free service HENews, a monthly update listing new reports and summaries (send a blank e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org).
Positive Aging Resource Center (PARC)
PARC is a clearinghouse that disseminates evidence-based mental health care information for elderly consumers and the professionals who serve them. Originally an initiative of the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), PARC is now maintained by the Harvard Medical School. The EBP section links to rated practice guidelines related to anxiety, depression, substance abuse, dementia, agitation and suicide, and SAMHSA-supported model programs providing mental health services for older adults, including special populations (e.g., Latino refugees from Central and South America and the Southeast Asian Hmong).
Best Practice, Evidence-Based Guidelines Related to Older People: New Zealand Guideline Group (NZGG)
The NZGG is a nonprofit organization established to promote effective health and disability by developing high quality evidence-based guidelines and reports related to older people. Of interest are Life After Stroke: New Zealand Guidelines for the Management of Stroke; Traumatic Brain Injury: Diagnosis, Acute Management and Rehabilitation; New Zealand Guideline for the Assessment and Treatment of ADD and ADHD; Analysis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Guidelines; and Prevention of Hip Fractures.
Jessica Scheer, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and research professor at the School of Public Health and Health Services at George Washington University in Washington, DC. She has served as a consultant with AOTA’s EBP Project since 1998.