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What you need to know: Council News

Foundation Receives Grant to Develop Home Care Aide Training for Socially Isolated Seniors

Thursday, December 28, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lisa Gurgone
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The Home Care Aide Council is excited to announce that our Foundation has been awarded $40,000 from the Metrowest Health Foundation to partner with BayPath Elder Services and the Center for Social and Demographic Research on Aging at UMASS Boston to create and evaluate a new program for home care aides to use with home care clients who are at risk for social isolation.  The goal of this project is to: 1) to develop and implement a new social isolation program with home care aides and their clients; and 2) to document the impact of home care and home care plus a social program in ameliorating social isolation and improving the well-being of older adult home care recipients.

With consultation from UMass Boston and home care agency nursing staff, our Foundation will pilot a new social program, including both a training and toolkit, entitled “It Takes Two: Engaging Socially with your Home Care Client”.  The training will be designed to prepare the home care aide to interact socially with isolated clients.  To identify clients that will receive the new program, the partnership will work together to determine brief screening items appropriate for determining risk of social isolation.  BayPath Elder Services will include the agreed upon social isolation assessment questions in all assessments of new clients during the Spring and Summer of 2018. During this time, new clients that are determined to be at risk of social isolation will be provided with one additional hour of services per week to be provided by an aide that have been trained in the “It Takes Two” intervention.

“Social isolation among the older adult population is a critical public health problem that is often overlooked by the healthcare community,” explained Dr. Caitlin Coyle, Adjunct Assistant Professor and Research Partner for this initiative from UMASS Boston.  “Older adults who are socially isolated also tend to have higher rates of chronic conditions or disability, stifling their ability to seek support and social interaction.”

“Home care aides are the frontline caregivers for the 27% of residents over age 64 who live alone in the Metrowest area of Massachusetts,” stated Hayley Gleason, Assistant Director of the Council.  “By partnering with BayPath Elder Services and two home care agencies that provide home care services to BayPath’s clients, this program attempts to not only better identify those elders that may be experiencing social isolation, but also provide them with added social activity in an attempt to mitigate their isolation and improve their quality of life.” Gleason added, “our Foundation is excited about the opportunity to develop and pilot test this new social program through this grant.  We plan to use the evidence gathered from this initiative to enhance this model and expand it throughout the Massachusetts home care program.”