Montana Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program

Project Title:  Montana Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program
Applicant Name:  The University of Montana
Project Director:  Gayle A. Hudgins, Pharm. D.
Project Director Phone:  406-243-6495
Project Director FAX:  406-243-4353
Project Director
Project Period:  7/1/2015 – 6/30/2018
Collaborating Partners:  RiverStone Health, St. Vincent Healthcare, Mountain Pacific Quality Health Foundation
Trainee types:  Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, Social Work, Speech Pathology health professionals, faculty and students, patients, families caregivers, direct care workers,

Rural or Underserved Populations Funding Preference Requested
 The Montana Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program (MGWEP) will provide geriatric education and training to develop a health care workforce to improve health outcomes for older adults. Programming will be provided for patients, families, caregivers, direct care workers, health professionals, students, residents and faculty in a variety of settings and formats.

Geriatrics will be integrated with primary care in community health centers training teams of family medicine residents and health professions students. Students will provide geriatric health screening in interdisciplinary teams throughout rural Montana. In both settings, patients, families and caregivers will be engaged and will gain confidence in managing the patients’ conditions.

To increase the geriatric expertise in the nursing workforce the MGWEP will assist in the development of a common core curriculum for the 16 schools offering nursing education in Montana. In addition, registered nurses will be provided with opportunities to enhance their gerontology expertise through certification. The MGWEP will provide continuing education for health professionals and direct care workers in various formats including live programming, videoconferencing, webinars and online curricular modules. Themes will include care transitions, management of chronic conditions, and behavioral management in dementia patients. Participants will be surveyed to assess implementation of new information in their practices.

Geriatric and dementia care topics will be featured in in-service training for direct care workers in long term care and other settings. Appropriate materials and training techniques will be disseminated to all Montana long term care facilities. Working with other stakeholders, curricula and training appropriate for community health workers will be developed and disseminated throughout Montana. The MGWEP will work with the Montana QIO to train peer educators who will in turn provide diabetes education to Medicare beneficiaries to improve self-management of that disease state. Improvement in diabetic parameters will be assessed.

Geriatric education will be provided for patients, families and caregivers throughout the MGWEP activities, including the co-sponsored Governor’s Conference on Aging. Patient education and caregiver support will be provided in community health centers, long term care facilities and public forums. The MGWEP will support Montana Area Agencies on Aging offerings of Powerful Tools for Caregivers training around the state. Caregivers will be assessed for increased knowledge of available resources.

Montana Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Initiatives 

Initiative 1: Interprofessional Collaboration, Education and Training in Geriatrics 

Objective: Develop and provide didactic and clinical training opportunities in which geriatrics can be integrated with primary care in the medical home. 

Initiative 2: Interdisciplinary Geriatric Health Screening Initiative 

Objective: Provide interdisciplinary (ID) clinical training in geriatrics for health professions students through participation in geriatric health screenings in a variety of settings. 

Initiative 3: Development of the Geriatric Nursing Workforce

Objective:  Provide opportunities for the infusion of geriatric knowledge and skills in the nursing workforce in Montana.

Initiative 4 – Continuing Education in Geriatrics for Health Professionals 

Objective: Develop and implement a variety of continuing education programs annually on geriatric topics for interdisciplinary groups of Montana health professionals from such disciplines as medicine, nursing, pharmacy, physical therapy, social work

Initiative 5: Geriatric Curriculum Expansion 

Objective:  Develop and disseminate three new modules; revise and update existing modules. 

Initiative 6 – Geriatric Training for Direct Care Workers

Objective:  Provide training in the care of older adults for direct care workers (DCW). 

Initiative 7 – Geriatric Education for Patients, Families and Caregivers

Objective:  Deliver community-based programs that will provide patients, families, and caregivers, with the knowledge and skills to improve outcomes and the quality of care for older adults.