VOLUME 18 | MARCH–APRIL 2011 | IGSW at Boston University

From the Director

In complex world of aging services

Good Partnerships Make Good (Multifaceted) Training

By Scott Miyake Geron

ScottTwo IGSW programs that have recently received funding are examples of our efforts to promote new service models that address critical needs. The Gerontological Social Work Practice Fellows program will create a national network of supervisory training in aging for master's-level social workers, and the IGSW Blended Model Suicide Prevention program is already providing training to reduce the high suicide rate among older adults. Both are the result of fruitful collaboration between IGSW and partner organizations to create multifaceted learning experiences that prepare practitioners for the complexities of service provision for older adults.... Read more

Featured Course

Suicide Prevention Among Older Adults

Undetected and under-treated depression and the corresponding high rate of suicide among older adults present one of the most urgent problems in caring for the aging population. This course prepares professionals working with older adults in mental health, substance abuse, and aging services to recognize suicide risk among their clients, to intervene appropriately, and to engage in and promote effective suicide prevention.

The expert commentator is Donna Cohen, Ph.D., an internationally known authority on aging and suicide. She is a professor in the Department of Aging and Mental Health Studies at the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Mental Health and Aging. See a video clip from the course of Cohen on beginning the conversation about possible suicide ideation with an older adult.

To register for this course or for more information

Issues and Views

In My Opinion: Roger Auerbach

Unions Strong Allies for Direct-Care Workers

By Roger Auerbach

RogerI spend most of my professional time focused on developing long-term-service systems that will enable older adults and all adults with disabilities to live independently in their own homes. We are often successful, but I always regret that I do not focus enough on the workers providing the services. Direct-care workers, who provide the bulk of "nonfamily" in-home care, are plagued by threats to health and safety, inadequacy of wages and benefits, and low job satisfaction. These issues must be addressed—to achieve fairness for the workers and for the good of the many older adults and people with disabilities who rely on them....

Roger Auerbach, a nationally recognized expert on long-term-care issues who advises federal and state governments and advocacy groups, brings the current debate about unions home. Read more

IGSW advanced training in aging for AAA staff

'What I Learned Has Helped Me Do a Better Job':
Conversation with a Long-Term-Care Manager

AndreaAndrea Buggs confessed that she was a bit nervous as she began the training program, even though she has a master's degree in health services, a file full of other credentials, and 13 years' experience working with older clients and managing community-care programs. "I'm not very computer-savvy," she said. "It was my first online course, so I didn't know what to expect."

Buggs is the long-term-care manager for home- and community-based services for the Central Savannah River Area AAA (Area Agency on Aging) in Augusta, Georgia, where she is in charge of case managers and also sees older-adult clients herself. She recently participated in a project to provide advanced training in aging for staff members at AAAs across the state, through the IGSW Certificate in Aging Program. Her experience surprised her. Read more

Featured Course

Geriatric Assessment

The basis for providing services to older adults, geriatric assessment includes determinations not only of what is necessary and appropriate, but also of eligibility and reimbursement options. This course describes a comprehensive geriatric assessment that social workers and other social service and health professionals can use effectively in any community or institutional setting. Included are the latest research and current policy issues, along with legal, ethical, and cultural considerations and their implications for practice. Useful resources, including a variety of assessment instruments, are suggested throughout.

Expert commentary is by Scott Miyake Geron, M.S.W., Ph.D., who has developed many geriatric assessment instruments, including the Home Care Satisfaction Measure, widely used across the country and adopted by the U.S. Administration on Aging as a key performance outcome measure. See a video clip from the course of Geron on assessment.

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News to Note

DCA Offers Professional Credential
For Personal-Assistance Workers

HelenThe Direct Care Alliance recently announced creation of a professional credential for personal-assistance workers in long-term care, the first of its kind. "This workforce receives little respect, with low wages and few benefits, even though they perform well in a job that many people could not do," said Helen Hanson, professional development manager at DCA. Hanson told IGSW News that she herself is a former direct-care worker and holds the new credential. "To their colleagues and bosses, and the people they care for," she said, "direct-care workers can now say, 'I know my stuff!'" Read more

IGSW Director of Workforce Development

Kathy Kuhn Receives NASW Practice Award

KathyThe National Association of Social Workers, Massachusetts Chapter, recently announced that Kathy Kuhn, IGSW's director of workforce development, is the 2011 recipient of the chapter's Greatest Contribution to Social Work Practice Award.

Kuhn has contributed to the well-being of older adults—and her fellow practitioners—in many areas throughout her varied career. She has served as clinical director of the Geriatric Mental Health and Linguistic Outreach Program at Kit Clark Senior Services and as director of social services and continuing care at Marlborough Hospital, both in Boston. She is also a lecturer at Boston University School of Social Work and a longtime advocate for improved provision of mental health services to older adults. At IGSW, she most recently has brought her practice and administrative experience to bear developing tools for organizations to use to train staff effectively.

"Kathy is one of the primary reasons our courses are so well-attuned to the needs of practitioners," said Scott Miyake Geron, IGSW's director. "She truly deserves this award for her many contributions to the field."