Formerly IGSW News | VOLUME 22 | SUMMER 2015 |

From the Director

'Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End'

For Appropriate, Effective Care,
Acknowledge Death and Dying

By Scott Miyake Geron

Americans don't like to acknowledge aging and death, much less read about them, so it's heartening that Atul Gawande's Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End has received such a wide, appreciative audience in the short time since it was published last fall. I read it with an eye toward implications for people working in long-term supports and services.

Gawande, a surgeon and a writer on medical matters for The New Yorker, presents this book as a conversation we all must have. In it, he criticizes members of his own profession for the "medicalization of mortality," saying doctors focus too much on safety and survival for their end-of-life patients. Instead, he says, they should be working to provide a less harrowing, more personally meaningful time of life for people facing serious illness and the possible approach of death. Doctors should ask, How do you want to live at this time? What matters to you?

Certainly, hospice workers and front-line caregivers have long known what Gawande is now discovering, but.... Read more

Boston University photo of Scott Miyake Geron

Issues and Views

In my opinion

When It Comes to Managing and Retaining
Direct-Care Workers, Common Sense Is Uncommon

By Jane Straker

Those of us who work and study in the field of aging are not surprised by the growing demand for workers to care or burgeoning numbers of older Americans. But I am surprised by our continuing trouble finding and then keeping the kinds of workers who provide caring, compassionate, quality care for older adults.

When we at Scripps Gerontology Center recently undertook a study of providers who had demonstrated high performance in workforce management, we visited and talked to workers and managers to understand their success. What we found was a common thread and a distinguishing characteristic.... Read more

Photo of Jane 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 B.U. 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. CEUs available from the National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards (NAB). Sign up now for a 10 percent discount (enter code ENews2015) or to obtain more information.

We ask LearningEdge readers

What's on Your Reading List This Summer?

Summer's here and the time is right, as usual, for asking a group from the fields of aging and disability to tell us what they've been reading and why. This year, Cary Sweeney, Julie Clark James, and Edgar E. Rivas suggest titles from their work-related and personal reading, with some intriguing connections between the two.... Read what they said


[Photo credits, left to right]
Photo of Cary Sweeney courtesy Mary DeShaw
Photo courtesy Julie Clark James
Photo courtesy Edgar E. Rivas

News to Note

'End of life' discussions

New CMS Proposal That Medicare Cover
Advance Care-Planning Receives Broad Support

The recent proposal that Medicare cover "end of life" discussions between patients and their doctors—and other qualified providers—has received broad support. Organizations from the American Medical Association to groups representing patients and family caregivers have weighed in, in favor. The National Right to Life Committee is opposed, saying patients could feel pressured to decline treatment.

Read more about this new reimbursement rule that could give beneficiaries and practitioners greater opportunity and flexibility to make use of advance care-planning at the most appropriate time for individual patients and their families....

New NIA guide, in English and Spanish

Online Health Information: Where to Find It,
Can You Trust It?

Thousands of websites offer medical information for consumers, but it's not always easy to determine which sites are reliable. Fortunately, the National Institute on Aging recently updated its AgePage guide "Online Health Information: Can You Trust It?" A new version is now available in Spanish. The guide should prove invaluable to older adults and many others seeking answers to questions about health, including people with disabilities, caregivers, and practitioners who guide individuals navigating the healthcare system. The page also provides questions to ask before trusting a health website, a quick checklist, and a list of sites with reliable information in Spanish. Read more

Wanted: Skilled Care Coordinators!

CADER Care Management Certificate Program

This five-course certificate program provides the skills and knowledge you or your staff need as major trends in health- and long-term care point to the importance of care coordination. Now and in the future, social service practitioners along with nurses and others in healthcare settings must be able to help clients navigate the complex care system and connect to needed services in the community. The program can be tailored to individuals, small groups, or entire agencies. Visit the program page for details, including links to course descriptions. Or, click here to register now and receive a 10 percent discount (enter code ENEWS2015 to receive the discount). CEUs available.