Developing Interprofessional Collaboration to Advance Innovative Service Delivery in Geriatric Health Settings
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Purpose: Interprofessional collaboration is essential in geriatric healthcare settings due to the complex needs of older adults. The University of North Texas Health Science Center and Texas Christian University’s Harris College of Nursing partnered together to design the Geriatric Practice Leadership Institute (GPLI) ten-month training program with an aim of cultivating interprofessional team development and growth in order to enhance value-based patient-focused care to older adults in the developing primary healthcare systems. Methods: Leadership training and quality improvement strategies were integrated into curricula for health professionals (n=33) attending four one-day sessions held between September-December 2018. Content focused on 4 domains: 1) Leading Self and Interprofessional Teams to Drive Patient Outcomes; 2) Leading Organizational Change Toward Quality Outcomes; and 3) the Aging Network and Safe Healthcare Delivery for Older Adults. Teams developed a geriatrics-related quality improvement project in their area of practice with support from faculty and an assigned Coach. Evaluation surveys using Likert scale items were administered after each session. Open-ended responses were examined using qualitative thematic analysis. Results: Trainee feedback shows improved knowledge and skills in collaborating as a health care team to improve patient care and safety, and improved understanding of unique and shared roles and responsibilities and of ways to work collaboratively in patient care. Ninety-six percent better understand the need for a common language for team discussion and assessment, and 92% would recommend the training. Qualitative responses indicated the trainees intended to modify their professional practice as a leader and team member; and in the development, implementation, or evaluation of their project. Perceived challenges to meeting team goals include time restraints, coordinating schedules for group meetings, and stakeholder engagement within their organizations. Conclusion: Focusing on the development of interprofessional team collaboration and communication can foster development of interventions that improve geriatrics care in health systems. Interprofessional teamwork in conjunction with leadership training can produce rapid change in health practices. Projects developed within the GPLI are sustainable, providing continuous data collection for future use.