Geriatric Leadership Training For Health Professionals In Emerging Health Systems




Fairchild, Thomas
Hawley, Diane
Knebl, Janice
Smith, Don
Severance, Jennifer
Prasad, Subhada
Hartos, Jessica


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Background: Increasingly integrated health delivery systems require that healthcare practitioners work effectively in interprofessional teams and lead change in emerging health care environments. To prepare the next generation of leaders and in transforming geriatric systems of care, the University of North Texas Health Science Center, Texas Christian University’s Nursing and Business Schools and the United Way’s Area Agency on Aging of Tarrant County partnered together to develop a ten-month Geriatric Practice Leadership Institute (GPLI). Methods: Applying a Rapid Cycle Quality Improvement Approach, faculty developed curricula for three two-day sessions held in October, November, and December 2016. Curricular content focused on five domains: 1) Leading Self; 2) Leading Teams, 3) Leading Organizational Change, 4) Population Health Science, and 5) Aging Network and Healthcare Delivery for Older Adults. Six teams of 27 healthcare professionals were selected from JPS Health Network, Texas Health Resources, UT Southwestern, UNT Health Science Center, Brookdale Senior Living, and The Women’s Center. Teams developed a geriatrics-related quality improvement project in their areas of practice. Projects focused on caregiver support, combating isolation, fall prevention, and improving electronic health records systems. Coaches support project development. Evaluation surveys were completed by participants at the end of each session to assess the quality of the training, and its impact on project development, implementation, and professional practice. Results: The majority of respondents agreed the sessions were helpful for personal mindfulness of leadership attributes and skills, and in developing, implementing and evaluating their quality improvement projects. Qualitative responses indicate the trainees intend to make changes to their professional practice as a leader and team member. Comments include changes to “better define roles in the group setting to improve outcomes and efficiency” and “engage stakeholders.” Comments related to projects include changes “in the scope of the project to something more manageable and suited for our resources,” and to “identify the obstacles that may affect the success of the project.” 92% would recommend the training. Conclusions: Enhancing health professionals’ personal leadership skills can create meaningful interventions designed to improve geriatrics care in primary healthcare systems.