Care Models Must be Well-Coordinated, Person-Directed and Family-Focused
The Eldercare Workforce Alliance is committed to addressing our nation’s eldercare workforce crisis by building a caring and competent workforce. To do this, we must address recruitment, retention, training, and compensation issues across the workforce, and provide information and support to consumers and family caregivers. Further, care models should provide well-coordinated, person-directed and family-focused services across settings. We strongly recommend that, as part of the design and implementation of all pilot projects and demonstrations, including those in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, programs should:
• Be consumer-centered and committed to a team-based approach and the organizational redesign required to support it, with the consumer, and/or his/her family caregivers at the center of the care team.
• Make certain that interdisciplinary care team members are allowed and encouraged to practice to the full extent of their knowledge, training, and skills and work together to provide well-coordinated care, as each team member plays a valuable role in providing quality care.
• Ensure that the training and education (content and modalities of delivery) are adequate and appropriate for preparing and sustaining a quality eldercare workforce.
• Acknowledge that workforce compensation is a means to increase the stability, effectiveness, and efficiency of the eldercare workforce.
• Provide training opportunities for members of the care team, including family caregivers, so they are fully competent to deliver interdisciplinary geriatric care within a redesigned healthcare system.
• Fully engage private-sector and state partners (e.g., credentialing and licensing boards, universities and community colleges) to ensure that the workforce is competent to care for older adults.
• Include quality metrics for practitioners and providers that promote quality care and recognize the complexity of caring for older adults with multiple chronic conditions, including those who are cognitively impaired, and support the need to work collaboratively with family caregivers.
• Build in incentives for social, physical and mental health systems service providers to work together to deliver culturally competent, well-coordinated care.
• Track and assess the training and education of the workforce, as well as recruitment and retention practices and workforce data.
• Ensure that the workforce is trained to provide culturally-competent care that addresses the variety of languages, ethnicities, cultures, and health beliefs of older adults and is effectively able to serve all older adults regardless of their race, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability status, and geographical location.
• Infuse the concepts related to the care and support of older adults and their families into all trainings such as supporting collaboration and team work and pain and symptom management, and create incentives for workforce training specifically focused on the unique social, physical and mental health care needs of older adults.
• Provide resources and supports to family and other informal caregivers that consider their physical and mental health and well-being and support them in their caregiving role.