Title VII and VIII Programs Preparing the Eldercare Workforce to Care for our Nation's Older Adults
ISSUE: Who Will Care?
The first of the baby boomers began to turn 65 this year. Within 20 years, one in five Americans will be over 65; 90 percent of those Americans will have one or more chronic conditions. Despite the growing need for services, there is a growing shortage of health professionals and direct-care workers with specialized training in geriatric care and an even greater shortage of the geriatrics faculty needed to train the entire workforce.
An effective job creation program must address this shift in demographics to ensure an adequate workforce to care for our nation's growing older population. These adults will require person-and family-centered, coordinated care that will allow them to remain in the appropriate care setting for as long as possible. Attracting and training people in eldercare will ensure that employees have the valuable skills necessary to provide quality care.
TITLE VII GERIATRICS HEALTH PROFESSIONS
Title VII Geriatrics Health Professions programs are the only federal programs that: increase the number of faculty with geriatrics expertise in a variety of disciplines including physicians, nurses, social workers, dentists, psychologists, pharmacists, and allied health professionals in academic geriatrics who provide training in clinical geriatrics including the training of interdisciplinary teams of health professionals. These offer critically important geriatrics training to the entire healthcare workforce. These programs include:
Geriatric Academic Career Awards (GACA): This program promotes the development of academic clinician educators in geriatrics. In Academic Year 2009-2010, GACA awardees provided approximately 60,000
health professionals with interdisciplinary geriatrics training. In turn, these trainees provided culturally competent quality health care to over 525,000 underserved and uninsured patients in acute care, geriatric ambulatory care, and long-term care settings, and geriatric through consultation services.
Geriatric Education Centers (GEC): GECs provide quality interdisciplinary geriatric education and training to practicing health care professionals of multiple disciplines, health care professions students and also offer programs for family caregivers and direct care workers. In Academic Year 2009-2010, the GEC grantees provided clinical training to 54,167 health professional students and to 20,791 interdisciplinary teams in multiple settings.
Geriatric Training Program for Physicians, Dentists, and Behavioral and Mental Health Professions: This program supports interprofessional training designed to develop additional faculty in medicine, dentistry, and behavioral and mental health so that they have the expertise, skills and knowledge to teach geriatrics and gerontology to the next generation of health professionals in their disciplines. In Academic Year 2009-2010, physician fellows in geriatrics provided health care to 12,254 older adults. Geriatric dental fellows provided health care to 4,073 older adults. Geriatric psychiatry fellows provided health care to 3,751 older adults.
Geriatric Career Incentive Awards Program: Congress has authorized this new program created through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which offers grants to foster greater interest among a variety of health professionals in entering the field of geriatrics, long-term care, and chronic care management. While authorized, this program has yet to receive appropriated funds through Congress.
TITLE VII DIRECT-CARE WORKER TRAINING PROGRAM
Training Opportunities for Direct Care Workers: Direct-care workers help older adults who need long-term
services and supports including assistance with activities of daily living (e.g. eating, bathing, dressing, toileting). Expanded training opportunities for these essential workers are critical to ensuring an adequate geriatrics workforce. According to current employment projections, more than one million new direct care workers will be needed by 2018 in order to meet the growing need for care. As part of the ACA, Congress approved an advanced training program for direct care workers, administered by HHS. Congress must fund this program in order to enhance direct care worker skills and knowledge, and thereby, improve the quality of care for older adults.
TITLE VIII GERIATRICS NURSING WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS
These programs, are the primary source of federal fundingfor advanced education nursing, workforce diversity, nursing faculty loan programs, nurse education, practice and retention, comprehensive geriatric education, loan
repayment, and scholarship.
Comprehensive Geriatric Education Program: This program provides quality geriatric education to individuals caring for the elderly and supports additional training for nurses who care for the elderly; development and dissemination of curricula relating to geriatric care; and training of faculty in geriatrics. It also provides continuing education for nurses practicing in geriatrics. In Academic Year 2009-2010, 27 CGEP grantees provided education and training to total of 6573 professionals in nursing, home health, as well as lay people, guardians, activity directors. The CGEP grantees provided 459 educational course offerings in the care of the elderly on a variety of topics to 6,846 participants.
Traineeships for Advanced Practice Nurses: Through the ACA, the Comprehensive Geriatric Education Program is being expanded to include advanced practice nurses who are pursuing long-term care, geropsychiatric nursing or other nursing areas that specialize in care of elderly.
Without investments in these geriatrics education and training programs, we will fail to ensure that America’shealth care workforce will be prepared to care for older Americans. We strongly believe that by investing in these programs, which create geriatrics faculty and offer the training that is needed to ensure a competent workforce, we will be delivering better care to America’s older adults. Health care dollars will be saved from better care coordination, more effective team-basedcare transitions, efficient and timely care and improved health outcomes. The workforce will grow as more people are trained, recruited and retained in the field of eldercare, ensuring economic stability.
Strengthening the eldercare workforce will strengthen America’s economy and America's families. With the anticipated growth of health care jobs, we must have a cadre of prepared faculty to provide training in the unique care of older adults. Drawing people into the fields of eldercare - including geriatrics, gerontology, and the direct care workforce - can generate jobs and address our looming crisis in health care. The best way to ensure a well-trained health care workforce to care for our nation’s elderly is to support the federally funded Title VII and VIII programs in geriatrics. We must support the development of a well-trained eldercare
workforce. It is an investment in our future.
The positions of the Eldercare Workforce Alliance reflect a consensus of 75 percent or more of its members. Statements reflect the consensus of the Alliance and do not necessarily represent the position of individual Alliance member organizations.