Training, caregiving topics of congressional briefing

Funding for geriatrics and gerontology training programs for health professionals and the team care approach, which places the individual and family caregiver at the center of care, were the topics on the agenda when the Eldercare Workforce Alliance (EWA) held a congressional briefing today. The event was supported by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL).

The briefing, with the title of “It Takes A Team! What we will need to meet the needs of older adults and their family caregivers,” promoted the need for geriatrics and gerontology education and presented opportunities for Congress to ensure that the entire healthcare team is competent to care for older adults.

Barbara Gay, director of government affairs for LeadingAge and the chair of the EWA Public Policy Committee, moderated the event. Panelists included:

  • Cheryl Phillips, MD, senior vice president of advocacy for LeadingAge, who discussed the unique skill sets of healthcare workers trained in geriatrics and gerontology;
  • Robyn Golden, director of health and aging at Rush University Medical Center, who discussed the importance of social and mental and behavioral health supports for older adults;
  • Arnetta Whittaker, a home health aide for Home Care Partners, who spoke about her experiences as a direct care worker in Washington, D.C; and
  • Nancy Lundebjerg, Eldercare Workforce Alliance co-convener and the American Geriatrics Society chief operating officer, who shared her personal experiences as a caregiver.

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