Grand-Aides must be state-certified as either Certified Nurse Aides or Certified Medical Assistants, or Certified Community Health Workers, because, as Garson says, "we thought it was very important to start with a known quantity."
They then receive additional training on the Grand-Aides curriculum, which consists of learning basic medical and disease-specific knowledge and a preceptorship. They're employed by clinics, and sometimes directly by hospitals or home health agencies; the state of Texas has placed the Grand-Aides program into the Medicaid program.
Grand-Aides aren't necessarily grandparents—that would be discriminatory against non-grandparents—but they do have the characteristics of a grandparent: mature, caring, trusted. In fact, that's how Grand-Aides began.
"This whole idea started about 15 years ago," Garson says, "when the chair of family medicine said to me that 50% of his patients could be taken care of by a good grandmother."