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Supporting Professionals in Gerontology

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Many older adults have multiple medical problems and chronic illnesses, and often turn to their physicians for added support in such areas as nutrition, housing, finances, and caregiving.

Their care also raises many complex social and ethical questions. Yet, the vast majority of health care professionals and service providers say that they are woefully ill-prepared to deal with the growing challenges of an aging population.

The Aging Institute is dedicated to increasing awareness of these issues and providing supportive resources to professionals who provide care for older adults.

Through its partnerships with the Division of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, and UPMC, the Aging Institute provides a network of supportive resources and opportunities for professional growth for current geriatric care professionals, as well as individuals interested in the field.

Throughout the year, the Aging Institute offers a variety of educational and training programs for those at the frontline of care, as well as for caregivers and the general public.

Supporting Physicians

Many older adults have multiple medical problems and chronic illnesses, and often turn to their physicians for added support in such areas as nutrition, housing, finances, and caregiving. To help their older patients successfully live longer and healthier lives, physicians must constantly update their knowledge base and have the support of a strong multidisciplinary network of other health care providers.

Physicians are encouraged to direct patients and caregivers seeking non-medical help to our Information and Referral Line, which can provide direct assistance in addressing a wide range of problems and questions.

Through its other partnerships with UPMC, the University of Pittsburgh, and external organizations, the Aging Institute helps support physicians care for their older patients by:

  • Sharing the latest knowledge and best practices in geriatric care through special programs and seminars
  • Offering interested older patients access to participation in clinical trials
  • Serving in an advocacy role for physicians on age-related issues with local, state, regional and national organizations, and sharing that information to interested colleagues
  • Underwriting guest lecturers and presentations by noted national and international authorities in geriatric research and care

Supporting Nurses

Nurses are at the frontline of providing quality care for older adults in long-term, hospital, in-home, and community settings. They also are the critical link in advising, educating, and supporting family members and caregivers.

The Aging Institute offers a variety of educational programs that support the basic training needs of nurses who work with older adults, as well as those who seek to advance their professional credentials through certification as geriatric nurses.

These include:

  • The Aging Institute’s Gerontology Certificate Program — a three-day track for nursing assistants and four-day track for nurses.
  • Gerontological Nurse Certification — an Institute-sponsored review course for RNs and LPNs, offered twice annually. The program prepares nurses to sit for the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s gerontological nurse certification examination. Fewer than 1 percent of all nurses are certified as geriatric nurses.

Nurse researchers and educators also are active members of the Institute’s workgroups and have received seed grant funding for promising research initiatives.

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