Formerly IGSW News | VOLUME 21 | SUMMER 2014 |

From the Director

What do practitioners want and need?

A Look at Quality, Effectiveness of Continuing
Professional Education for Social Work in the U.S.

By Scott Miyake Geron

This summer I've been reading and thinking a lot about continuing professional education—not surprising considering what we do here. Over the past three years, I've worked with Betty Ruth and Mark Gianino, colleagues and fellow researchers at the BU School of Social Work, to conduct a study of the current quality and effectiveness of the continuing professional education system for social work in the United States. The study, commissioned by the Association of Social Work Boards' American Foundation for Research and Consumer Education in Social Work Regulation, included a national survey of states and Canadian provinces, and an in-depth examination of a single state, to understand what works and what doesn't. Right now, I'm most impressed by what practitioners in the focus groups, led by Mark Gianino, said they want and need from continuing education and why. ...Read what they said.

Boston University photo of Scott Miyake Geron

Issues and Views

New study gleans best practices

How High-Performing Organizations
Manage and Support Direct-Care Workers

By Mary Johnson

In the face of persistent concerns about the availability and stability of the direct-care workforce, on which growing numbers of older adults and people with disabilities depend, a new study of high-performing homecare agencies and nursing homes has identified effective practices and strategies for managing direct-care workers.

The study, by Miami University's Scripps Gerontology Center, an institution known for its commitment to translating research to practice, is described in the report Common Sense for Caring Organizations. "We saw that despite the difficulty of hiring, retaining, and managing direct-care workers, some organizations were highly successful," says Jane Straker (pictured at right), a senior research scholar at Scripps and lead author of the study. "What were they doing right?" Read more

Photo of Jane K. Straker courtesy Miami University

How to effectively supervise and support direct-care workers

Common Sense Management for Caring Organizations

Scripps Gerontology Center and CADER at BU have joined forces in this new course to present proven strategies and practices that will make you a successful supervisor of direct-care staff, the cornerstone of our long-term supports and services system. Based on a path-breaking study of high-performing nursing homes and homecare agencies—and what they do right—the course will enhance your understanding and provide the perspective and practical skills you need, from assessment of areas for improvement to interviewing for best employee selection, to engendering compassion and teamwork. Candid video clips of interviews from the study are presented throughout the course. Sign up now for a 10 percent discount (enter code ENews2014) or obtain more information.

Readers' Question Time

What Are You Reading This Summer?

It's that time of year when we ask a group of professionals in the fields of aging and disability what they've been reading and why. Our readers this summer are Julie James, an options counselor at MetroWest Center for Independent Living in Framingham, Mass.; Joann P. Reinhardt, director of research at the Research Institute on Aging, Jewish Home Lifecare, in New York; and Ellen O'Neill, executive director of ASDEC-Dyslexia Therapy and Training in Rockville, Md. They've recommend works they found to be both inspiring or practical, or both. Here's what they said.

Composite to come

[Photo credits, left to right]
Photo courtesy Julie James
Photo courtesy Joann P. Reinhardt
Photo courtesy Ellen O'Neill

Recommended summer viewing

What Should You Be Watching?

By Olive Tan

The five films reviewed here are recommended for your summer viewing because of their thoughtful and sensitive portrayals of older adults who, faced with sudden and difficult life changes, have to learn to cope with grace, dignity, love, and sometimes humor. The films are available on DVDs.

(director: Mike Mills; 2010; 105 min)

Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer, respectively, play son (Oliver) and father (Hal) in this film about their relationship. There's been trouble between them before, and now, late in his life, Hal comes out and also learns that he has terminal cancer. There's an interesting and unusual juxtaposition between the funny coming-out story and the harrowing and sweet one that addresses aging and dying, complete with caregiving troubles and existential questions. Beginners is based on writer-director Mike Mills' own experience with his late father. For this role, Plummer won the Golden Globe and the Academy Award, both for Best Supporting Actor.
Read all the reviews

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