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Round-Up: Students Learning Eldercare, Geriatric Fundamentals

Analysis  |  By Jasmyne Ray  
   June 23, 2023

Colleges and universities are doing their part to develop a talent pipeline for aging services.

Despite the sector's incredible growth, home health care agencies are struggling to meet the demand for services. In addition to the ongoing workforce shortage, there is a lack of interest in geriatric medicine and eldercare among new generations of healthcare workers.

To combat this issue, some providers have partnered with higher education institutions to develop relationships with potential talent while they're students. Additionally, some institutions have taken it upon themselves to provide students opportunities to work with elderly patients.

Here are three HealthLeaders stories spotlighting institutions giving students a chance to explore eldercare and careers in aging services.

University of Kansas School of Health Professions

In addition to research and innovation surrounding fall risk in older adults, the KU Cares Research Center is also developing best practices caregivers and nurses can use in the field.

The school's faculty also note that quality of life and social interaction play a considerable role in the way fall injuries impact a patient's health.

"What I hope to see is that our research can create the global awareness of what we each can contribute to increasing the quality of life of our older folks," Dr. Abiodun Akinwuntan, the school's dean, said.

University of Arkansas Medical Science College of Health Professions

The college has incorporated geriatrics, previously an elective, into the core clinical rotation of its physician assistant program.  Faculty are hoping the experience will increase student interest in geriatric medicine.

"It's trying to show them that they could potentially also work with people to continue to live a good quality of life and help them do that as they age," Dr. Jennifer Vincenzo, an associate professor, said.

Loma Linda University School of Allied Health Professions

Chad Cole, MPA, is using his experience working in geriatric medicine to help students develop an interest in working with elderly patients. Students’ hesitation to work with elderly patients stems from ageism and believing their conditions are more complicated than those in younger generations, according to Cole.

"We kind of shy away from aging and I think we need to really realize what a valuable resource those patients can be with their wisdom and all the experiences they've had in their lives," Cole said.

Jasmyne Ray is the contributing editor for revenue cycle at HealthLeaders. 

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