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Grand-Aides Make Nursing Go Further

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media, May 22, 2012

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."

Alexandra Wilson Pecci is a managing editor for HealthLeaders Media.

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