Formerly IGSW News | VOLUME 20 | MAY-JUNE 2013

From the Director

Partnerships for quality are blooming

'SE4A University' Trains Service and Support Workers on the Job

By Scott Miyake Geron

ScottThis spring, as we watch the new growth in our gardens, we can also observe a growing development in the field of long-term-living services and supports: an exciting mix of partnerships and collaborations formed to promote quality care for increasing numbers of older adults and people with disabilities. This column is the first in an occasional series on partnerships in which we and others are engaged to strengthen the supports and services workforce.

The impetus for increasing collaboration comes in part from crisis, as we face the rising costs of care and a shortage of trained workers. The growth of collaborations is also spurred by evidence, as we learn more about the benefits of interdisciplinary teams and care coordination. Systemwide, the Affordable Care Act provides incentive and support through its commitment to achieving greater efficiency in healthcare delivery (lowering cost while improving quality).

At the Center, one of our most successful partnerships is with the Southeastern Association of Area Agencies on Aging (SE4A), which comprises 100 member organizations in eight states. The Center and SE4A joined together a year ago to create the "SE4A University." The program provides validated, skill-based online training for workers in SE4A member agencies and their network providers who serve older adults and younger people with disabilities. The partnership offers a unique opportunity for these organizations and their workers to improve the service and care they provide through advanced online instruction that is available on the job. Similar programs are in the works for other groups.

Scott Miyake Geron, Ph.D., is director of the Center for Aging & Disability Education & Research and an associate professor at Boston University.

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