LTC education offerings get 'new' degree, more attention

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Stone: Aging service “not being addressed adequately.”
Stone: Aging service “not being addressed adequately.”

Long-term care facilities are in desperate need of more trained professionals as the population continues to age, and the vendor and education communities are looking to help.

Georgia Southwestern State University, for one, just announced that it is rolling out what it says is a “first-of-its-kind” degree for long-term care leaders this fall. The Americus, GA, school is debuting a new Bachelor of Science degree in long-term care management, available online in the classroom.

The four-year, interdisciplinary degree will have students tackling coursework in everything from nursing to caregiving, psychology, sociology and business.

Leisa Easom, associate dean of the GSW College of Nursing and Health Sciences, said they created the program after surveying local long-term care facilities, which reaffirmed the desperate need for such professionals.

“There's a gap here,” Easom said in an interview. “We need to shape the workforce so that it meets these family needs.”

Online learning platform EasyCare Academy, for example, announced recently that it is partnering with the International Council of Nurses, which represents more than 20 million RNs, to provide educational materials for all types of professionals caring for the elderly.

Plus, with the help of a $1.6 million grant from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Georgia State University's Gerontology Institute will lead the three-year training and development program called “Building Resources for Delivering Person-Centered Care in Georgia Nursing Homes.”

Robyn Stone, SVP of Research at LeadingAge, said there are “quality undergraduate programs in long-term care management across the country,” but “aging services is not being addressed adequately in healthcare management or in the training of clinical professionals who work in our field. ... We need more programs.”