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Philadelphia Consortium Projects

Older Adults

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Philadelphia’s Senior Citizens: Examining Existing Protections for Voting Rights and Personal Decision Making

Student Intern(s):
Sara Delhauer, Earle Mack School of Law at Drexel University

Academic Preceptor(s):
Elissa Goldberg, MSS, LSW, Drexel University College of Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Diane Menio, MS, Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly (CARIE)
Lori Walsh, Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly (CARIE)

The Community Site: 
The Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly (CARIE) has been dedicated to improving the quality of life of vulnerable older people for more than 32 years. CARIE fulfills its core mission to improve the well-being, rights and autonomy of older people through advocacy, education and action using a “case-to-cause” model of advocacy that promotes equal access to justice and addresses problems and issues on both the individual and the systemic levels. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators:  Mental Health; Access to Health Care
Focus Areas:  Mental Health and Mental Disorders; Disability and Secondary Conditions; Educational and Community-Based Programs; Access to Quality Health Services

The Project: 
Sara worked with CARIE’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman program to identify potential barriers to voting for residents in Philadelphia long-term care facilities, including people with mobility disabilities, and to protect the right to vote for residents with capacity issues such as dementia. She then helped develop a survey that will be completed by participating nursing homes. The survey is focused on how voting occurs and identifying problems that arise for residents and facilities. The Ombudsman program will use the information obtained from the survey to determine how to further facilitate residents’ right to vote. Sara also gathered background information, statistics and applicable law on legal guardianship over incapacitated adults in Philadelphia County, including guardianship to protect the incapacitated adult’s health, safety, and welfare, as well as guardianship over the person’s finances. This information will be used by CARIE to better understand the circumstances of the older adults they serve, and to help determine if a volunteer guardianship monitoring program would serve the needs of the Philadelphia courts, legal guardians and incapacitated adults. Sara said, “It is important to have an interdisciplinary team and groups like CARIE to protect and aid the biological, psychological and social aspects of elderly persons’ wellness, especially for a potentially vulnerable population. CARIE’s ‘case to cause’ model of advocacy is inspiring, and I know the advocacy skills I have developed this summer will be used throughout my law career.”

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Flex Your Brain: A Series of Challenging Brain Activities

Student Intern(s):
Karla Curet, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program
Hanna Hyon, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, Master’s in Occupational Therapy Program

Academic Preceptor(s):
Eugene Mochan, PhD, DO, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Ruth L. Schemm, EdD, OTR/L, FAOTA, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia

Community Preceptor(s):
Rebecca Kochman, MSW, Intercommunity Action, Inc., Journey’s Way

The Community Site: 
Journey’s Way of Intercommunity Action, Inc.’s aging services department offers programs for people aged 55 and over. The Center at Journey’s Way offers lifelong learning, health, fitness, volunteer, recreational and travel programs, and social services for independent older adults. The Adult Day Services Center provides older adults who need supervision with an individualized program that includes lunch and snacks, recreation and socialization, and support for family caregivers. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators:  Mental Health; Overweight and Obesity; Physical Activity
Focus Areas:  Physical Activity and Fitness; Oral Health; Mental Health and Mental Disorders; Nutrition and Overweight; Occupational Safety and Health

The Project: 
Karla and Hanna assisted Journey’s Way Center staff in providing services for older adults. The interns conducted a series of programs targeted toward increasing physical and mental activity, awareness of cardiovascular health, awareness of oral health, and awareness of occupational safety. The seniors engaged in activities such as salsa dancing, blood pressure screenings, cultural lectures, brain fitness activities, and various health and safety lectures. The interns emphasized brain fitness activities, including a “Survivor” simulation game, nutrition “Jeopardy,” finish the song from the ’40s and ’50s, laughter yoga, a walk through memory lane, two-minute mysteries, and “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” Karla and Hanna also worked at the Journey’s Way Adult Day Services Center, where participants engaged in activities that included yoga, aerobic salsa, arts and crafts, bingo, and pet therapy. Hanna noted, “I will never forget the hardships and tribulations most seniors have experienced in their lifetimes, and I will hold their wisdom and teaching very near to my heart. The relationships that I have learned to form while working at Journey’s Way have truly become a priceless asset to my professional career.” Karla said, “Many of the seniors became more physically active, social and enthusiastic because of our presence in the center and the many programs we provided. … I have learned the importance of actively listening and providing sympathy and support.”

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LIFE: Keeping Both Bodies and Minds Active in the Aging Population

Student Intern(s):
Laura Rose Musheno
, Drexel University College of Medicine
Lonté Jacobs, Drexel University, School of Public Health

Academic Preceptor(s):
Elissa Goldberg, MSS, LSW, Drexel University College of Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Beth Cwiklinski, MSW, NewCourtland LIFE
Aginah Shaw, NewCourtland LIFE

The Community Site: 
The NewCourtland LIFE Program serves individuals aged 60 and older who are certified by the state of Pennsylvania to be in need of nursing home care, yet able to live safely at home. The program delivers all needed medical and supportive services and provides the entire continuum of care and services to seniors with chronic needs, while helping seniors maintain their independence in their homes for as long as possible. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators:  Physical Activity; Mental Health; Access to Health Care
Focus Areas:  Educational and Community-Based Programs; Mental Health

The Project: 
Lonté and Rosie assisted with the therapeutic recreation portion of the Living Independently for Elders (LIFE) program by helping to organize and lead activities designed to be fun and cognitively stimulating. The interns socialized with individual seniors, provided companionship during mealtimes, and encouraged and motivated senior participation in activities held at the LIFE Center. Lonté and Rosie also aided participants during group exercise time and provided walking assistance throughout the center. Finally, the interns had the opportunity to attend care plan meetings, where they observed the interdisciplinary team coordinating integrative health care plans for LIFE program participants. Lonté said, “Working at the NewCourtland LIFE program has taught me the importance of communication, compassion and patience in the delivery of health care services for the elderly. As a future public health professional, I hope to apply these lessons learned to help ensure that senior populations have access to health care resources to become comfortable with aging and able to live a more productive lifestyle.” Rosie said, “Working at LIFE has given me the opportunity to see a whole different side of health care, one in which health care professionals of all disciplines share information and work together in order to give the patient the best possible care. … Moreover, working with the elderly participants at LIFE has given me an invaluable opportunity to improve on skills that I will need as a health professional.”

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R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Find Out What It Means to … Elders!

Student Intern(s):
Sarah Cermak, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice
Tricia Smyth, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

Academic Preceptor(s):
Jeffrey Draine, PhD, MSW, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice
Ann L. O’Sullivan, PhD, FAAN, CRNP, University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing

Community Preceptor(s):
Christine Brewer
, BSN, MSW, LIFE (a practice of Penn Nursing)

The Community Site: 
Living Independently for Elders (LIFE), a clinical practice of Penn Nursing and a PACE Program in West Philadelphia, provides all-inclusive care for 400 frail, elderly adults in the community with the goal of keeping members in their own homes. The LIFE program is an interdisciplinary, comprehensive program that provides total medical and social care. Services provided to participants include meals, transportation, physical therapy, social services, family support, recreational therapy, medical treatment and personal care. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators:  Environmental Quality; Injury and Violence; Mental Health
Focus Areas:  Educational and Community-Based Programs; Environmental Health; Health Communication; Injury and Violence Prevention; Mental Health and Mental Disorders

The Project:
Tricia and Sarah interacted with Living Independently for Elders (LIFE) members on a daily basis. In addition to observing and participating in the various activities held at LIFE, the interns facilitated a discussion group with members to provide them with resources and increase their awareness about elder safety and elder abuse. During LIFE’s orientation for new high school volunteers, the interns held a workshop on respectful communication that focused on working with the elderly at LIFE and in the community. Tricia and Sarah also led discussion groups with the high school volunteers to educate them about elder issues. Tricia noted, “The BTG internship was so valuable to me because I really got to experience the West Philadelphia community through the eyes of the elderly. At LIFE, I also learned how to work with all members of the health care team. … I have gained knowledge about community health through my BTG experience that I will never forget.” Sarah commented, “Having not worked with older adults before, the BTG CHIP experience has been quite a learning experience. While at LIFE I have been able to gain professional experience working in an interdisciplinary setting, one that depends on so many professions working together in order to provide their members with the best care they can. I know I will take away a lot from this internship, and I am so grateful for this opportunity to truly experience a community health organization in action.”

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Where Good Friends Meet for Great Activities

Student Intern(s):
Larissa Hatala, Temple University, School of Podiatric Medicine
Iryna Koval, Temple University, School of Pharmacy
Lara Stone, Temple University, School of Podiatric Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Dianne Butera, MSW, Temple University, School of Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Michelle Lutz, BSW, Lutheran Settlement House Senior Center
Peggy Eagle, BH/MST, Lutheran Settlement House Senior Center

The Community Site: 
The Lutheran Settlement House Senior Center, located in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia, supports vital, healthy aging and cultivates community connections for older adults while encouraging them to take an active role in leading a self-determined life. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators:  Mental Health; Overweight and Obesity; Physical Activity
Focus Areas:  Osteoporosis; Health Communication; Diabetes; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project: 
Larissa, Iryna, and Lara worked at the Lutheran Settlement House Senior Center over the course of the summer, getting to know the senior participants and providing education on various topics. In addition to participating in the weekly activities of line dancing, arts and crafts, bingo, and aerobics, the students also conducted their own workshops. The interns developed an interactive curriculum using aerobics, dance and puzzles, which covered health-related topics such as diabetes education, home safety and fall prevention, oral health, foot care, and medication awareness. One of the highlights of the summer was the group creation of the Heart Smart poster. The poster brought together everyone in the center and allowed each individual to contribute to the final project, displaying their different personalities and ideas. For Laura, this internship “was a great experience.” She said, “Getting to know all of the members, their values, passions, and concerns reinforced my idea of the importance of treating others with respect and kindness while being aware of age and background.” Larissa said the internship taught her “so much about the senior population.” She continued, “I have made some great friends and relationships with the senior participants and my co-workers as well.” Iryna said, I did not expect to have such a wonderful time. … All the seniors were very friendly and welcoming, and I was really glad when they opened up to me and trusted me with their concerns about their medication.”

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Senior Moments … A Summer of Learning Together

Student Intern(s):
Christy Favinger, Temple University, College of Health Professions, Department of Occupational Therapy
Stephanie Wilsey, Temple University, School of Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Dianne Butera, MSW, Temple University, School of Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Julie Nelson
, Philadelphia Senior Center, Tioga Branch

The Community Site: 
The mission of the Philadelphia Senior Center (PSC) is to advance the well-being and personal growth of all persons aged 55 and older in the greater Philadelphia area by connecting them to services and resources to learn, grow and discover new ways to be actively engaged in living. The Tioga Branch has been serving the community for more than 35 years. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators:  Mental Health; Overweight and Obesity; Tobacco Use
Focus Areas:  Arthritis, Osteoporosis, and Chronic Back Conditions; Diabetes; Heart Disease and Stroke; Mental Health and Mental Disorders; Nutrition and Overweight

The Project: 
Christy and Stephanie collaborated with the Philadelphia Senior Center Tioga Branch staff to foster health promotion discussions with the center’s participants. The interns held daily Lunch and Learn Talks presenting relevant health issues, including cardiovascular health, nutrition and fitness. They also helped with the produce voucher program, which provides low-income seniors living in Philadelphia with funds to purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables. In addition, Stephanie and Christy had individual conversations with the seniors and were active participants in the classes and services offered at the center. Christy mentioned that the seniors “are really a great example of what it means to live well. By utilizing the [center’s] resources, and being present for, accepting of, and loving of one another, they are taking important steps towards continuing to live happy lives. I feel that the importance of these attributes and sense of community here are important lessons that I can … remember when interacting with future patients/clients.” Stephanie said, “By far the most rewarding part of my summer has been the meaningful conversations I had with many seniors about the challenges and rewards of aging in today’s society. … BTG has offered me the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding and connection to the community, which will surely help me in my future career.”

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Senior Moments: Making Memories at the Philadelphia Senior Center

Student Intern(s):
Jennifer Light, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College
Katherine Oser, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson College of Health Professions, Department of Occupational Therapy

Academic Preceptor(s):
Lauren Collins, MD, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College

Community Preceptor(s):
Charles Brown, MSW, LSW, Philadelphia Senior Center

The Community Site: 
The Philadelphia Senior Center (PSC) main branch on South Broad Street helps adults aged 55 and older meet their basic needs and enhance their quality of life. The center offers a variety of activities including art classes, poetry workshops, line dancing, tai chi, drama, walking clubs, chorus and health support groups. Some members come to the center every day, while others may come once a week for a specific activity. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators:  Access to Health Care; Overweight and Obesity; Physical Activity
Focus Areas:  Educational and Community-Based Programs; Heart Disease and Stroke; Nutrition and Overweight; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project: 
Katherine and Jennifer planned and implemented various health-related activities at the South Broad Street Philadelphia Senior Center. Their goals for these activities were to increase awareness of health topics including, but not limited to, diabetes, heart disease, nutrition and physical activity. In addition, the interns focused on increasing accessibility to health resources through weekly computer classes. Other responsibilities included distributing “veggie vouchers” to qualifying seniors, which allowing them to purchase fresh produce from local vendors. Jen said, “Working with the seniors at the PSC broadened my perspectives on how socioeconomic status, culture, age and race affect access to health care and health resources. I also learned a great deal about how community organizations run successfully on a tight budget. It was incredibly rewarding to interact with people with such rich life experiences and diverse backgrounds, and I am grateful to have been given such a wonderful opportunity.” Katherine said, “Working at the PSC has exceeded my expectations and has given me a unique experience working with the elderly population right in my own community. I can’t begin to describe all that I’ve learned in such a short seven weeks, from working in an interdisciplinary group of two to developing and running programs with little to no budget. But the most valuable lesson I’ve learned is how much the little everyday interactions count in helping to build rapport with your clients in order to gain their trust.”

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Reducing the Risk of Falls in Older Adults

Student Intern(s):
Veronica Del Greco, Drexel University College of Medicine
Monica Silvian, Drexel University College of Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Elissa Goldberg, MSS, LSW, Drexel University College of Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Mary J. Fallon, MA, NHA, Unitarian Universalist House, Outreach Program
Roberta Balsam, MSW, Unitarian Universalist House, Outreach Program
Lynn Trimborn, RN, Unitarian Universalist House, Outreach Program
           
The Community Site: 
In 1998, the Unitarian Universalist House (UUH) board created an Outreach Program designed to identify and meet the needs of community-based elderly people living independently in Northwest Philadelphia. The main goal is to assist adults aged 60 and older within the service area so they can remain living independently as long as possible. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators:  Physical Activity; Mental Health; Access to Health Care
Focus Areas:  Physical Activity and Fitness; Arthritis, Osteoporosis and Chronic Back Conditions; Nutrition and Overweight; Access to Quality Health Services; Vision and Hearing

The Project: 
As part of the Unitarian Universalist House Outreach Program, Monica and Veronica worked with six older adults who were self-identified as being at risk for falls. The interns conducted initial assessments of strength, balance and mobility in order to develop an individualized exercise/movement program. A home safety assessment was also conducted, and suggestions to improve home safety were made. After these initial visits, Monica and Veronica visited the clients in their homes twice a week for five weeks to motivate and guide them through their exercises and help build their confidence in walking independently. Veronica noted, “Working at UU House has changed the way I think about aging and obstacles to independence. I have learned a lot from these clients about life and about caring for older adults, in addition to acquiring better patient interviewing skills.” Monica said the internship opened her eyes “to the multitude of factors that play a role in one’s ability to optimize their overall health and well-being, beyond the scope of specific medical issues.” She continued, “This exposure has not only increased my empathy for older adults living independently in Philadelphia, but it has also taught me the importance of addressing each individual’s home life in order to provide the best care.”

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Active Aging Through Meaningful Activities

Student Intern(s):
Shainna Davis, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson College of Health Professions, Department of Occupational Therapy
Huong Le, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson College of Health Professions, Department of Occupational Therapy

Academic Preceptor(s):
Caryn Johnson, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson College of Health Professions, Department of Occupational Therapy

Community Preceptor(s):
Mary Ellen Bolden, Philadelphia Senior Center, Services on Site

The Community Site: 
Services on Site, a component program of the Philadelphia Senior Center, provides outreach to neighborhood senior communities in order to promote positive interaction and advance well-being within the older adult population. Community sites include Susquehanna Village, Casa Farnese, Reed Street Apartments, American Postal Workers House, Anthony Wayne Senior Housing, Scottish Rite Tower and the Scottish Rite House. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators:  Mental Health; Overweight and Obesity; Physical Activity
Focus Areas:  Disability and Secondary Conditions; Mental Health and Mental Disorders; Nutrition and Overweight; Occupational Safety and Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project: 
Shainna and Huong worked with the Services on Site program to organize and conduct a series of traveling workshops addressing senior health issues. The interns visited sites throughout the Philadelphia area, including North Philadelphia, South Philadelphia and Center City. Shainna and Huong designed a six-week program that promoted health awareness in the senior community and used interactive activities to address prevalent health issues including diabetes, cardiovascular conditions, obesity, osteoporosis and falls. The program the interns designed also included games, gardening, craft activities and healthy eating activities. Shainna said, “Throughout this experience, I have gained a tremendous amount of knowledge and appreciation of older adults. … I have learned to take the time to listen to my clients’ needs. Older adults love to stay active as long as the activities are fun.” Huong commented, “Being a part of Services on Site allowed me to interact with a wide range of people with difficult backgrounds, different cultures and different disabilities. As a future occupational therapist … I will always have to keep in mind the different levels of functionality specific to each individual and how this affects the group as a team.”

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A Summer of Working Toward Health Literacy for Older Adult Immigrants

Student Intern(s):
Sylvia Byun, Drexel University, School of Public Health
Benjamin Landgraf, Temple University, School of Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Nina Cheung, MD, Drexel University College of Medicine
Dianne Butera, MSW, Temple University, School of Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Patience Lehrman, MSEd, AOD, Project SHINE
Amy Schrager, BA, Project SHINE
Lilian Wu, MSEd, Project SHINE

The Community Site: 
Project SHINE (Students Helping in the Naturalization of Elders) is a program at the Intergenerational Center at Temple University that engages a broad and diverse group of students in building relationships with elderly immigrants and refugees through language acquisition, literacy and citizenship preparation at 17 different community partner sites. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:           
Leading Health Indicators:  Access to Health Care; Environmental Quality; Physical Activity
Focus Areas:  Access to Quality Health Services; Educational and Community-Based Programs; Heart Disease and Stroke; Nutrition and Overweight; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
Sylvia and Ben identified promising practices regarding health literacy at several of Project SHINE’s community partner sites. The interns traveled to Coffee Cup Senior Center, SEAMAAC, Nationalities Senior Center, and the Jaisohn Center, where they participated in and observed both activities and courses. The promising practices the team looked for were positive teacher-student interactions, as well as what learners took away from these positive interactions; how learners absorbed the material; and evidence of health literacy teaching. Throughout the summer, the interns shared their experience and observations with the SHINE team with the goal of helping SHINE with future program design. Benjamin noted, “Though the summer began and ended in the blink of an eye, I was able to gain a deeper appreciation for the type of work that is done with limited resources for our immigrant population. It was a privilege to work with the many AmeriCorps volunteers who take their students’ learning very seriously. The Wednesday seminars … [gave] me a deeper understanding of and appreciation for North Philadelphia, the community in which I work.” Sylvia said, “Visiting various ESL classes was pleasant in that Ben and I got to see how much the seniors enjoyed and benefited from what Project SHINE offered. Thanks to the Wednesday seminars, I was able to work with more passion by learning from other inspiring guest speakers.”

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Harvesting Health

Student Intern(s):
Ekta Bajaj
, Drexel University College of Medicine
Payal Soni, Drexel University College of Medicine

Academic Preceptor(s):
Nina Cheung, MD, Drexel University College of Medicine

Community Preceptor(s):
Tara Swartzendruber-Landis, Nationalities Service Center, Senior Center

The Community Site: 
The Nationalities Senior Center, a component program of the Nationalities Service Center, is a geriatrics activities day center located in North Philadelphia. The Senior Center serves immigrant and refugee seniors, providing a place where they can interact, engage in activities, receive hot meals, and have access to social services and other community resources. View Community Partner Web Site

Healthy People 2010:
Leading Health Indicators:  Physical Activity; Access to Health Care; Overweight and Obesity
Focus Areas:  Nutrition and Overweight; Physical Activity and Fitness; Health Communication; Educational and Community-Based Programs; Heart Disease and Stroke; Diabetes

The Project:  
Ekta and Payal assisted in the garden project at the Nationalities Senior Center. The goal of the garden is to promote self-sustenance and organic/healthy eating. The interns helped set up and maintain the garden. They also developed a program on gardening benefits focused on exercise and gardening tips, including what, when and how to grow foods. They included information on elderly nutrition, emphasizing why certain vegetables are good for you and how to cook them to preserve their nutrients, as well as how to cater a diet toward certain illnesses, such as hypertension. These classes will be taught throughout the year in the different languages spoken at the center. Ekta said, “BTG has truly been a life-changing experience. The biggest lesson for me is that there is always something to learn from the person standing in front of you—whether it is the staff or the senior citizen members at NSC, who have taught me something new every day. … I look forward to incorporating all the lessons about my community and my elders that I have learned at NSC into my future professional career.” Payal said this experience “reinforced how much I love working with seniors, enjoy listening to and learning from their many experiences and life stories, and how fulfilling I find it to care for my elders.” He added, “I have a better idea of my professional identity and take pride in the fact that it incorporates and furthers my cultural background.”

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