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Arnold School of Public Health


OSA helps develop recommendations for long-term care system, will play key roles in implementing solutions

June 29, 2015 | Erin Bluvas, bluvase@sc.edu 

Faced with the 65+ population projected to nearly double to 1.1 million over the next 15 years and younger populations requiring long-term care as well (43 percent of long-term care users are under age 65), a statewide taskforce of experts, practitioners and stakeholders released their recommendations this month for improving long-term care in South Carolina. Convened by the S.C. Institute for Medicine and Public Health (IMPH), the taskforce developed actionable recommendations presented in a guide that aims to improve the long-term care system and prepare South Carolina for rapid growth in the aging population. A steering committee guided the taskforce and oversaw the work of four committees.

Director for the Arnold School’s Office for the Study of Aging (OSA) Brenda Hyleman and Director for OSA’s SCVAGALprogram Maria Patton served on two of these committees, which explored specific issues in greater depth, reviewed best practices and generated potential solutions. OSA was also identified in the resulting report as a lead entity for several of the recommendations.

“The participation by colleagues from the Office for the Study of Aging in the work of the Long-Term Care Taskforce added tremendous value to both the overall process and the final recommendations,” says Lee Pearson, director of operations for the Institute of Medicine and Public Health and a co-author of the taskforce report. “The Office for the Study of Aging is a respected resource in our state, and we are grateful to have had their leadership and staff involved in this important work. We look forward to that involvement continuing as work begins to implement the recommendations.”

As a part of their involvement in implementing the recommendations of the taskforce, OSA has been charged with convening stakeholders to establish a Long-term Care Workforce Development Consortium. Through the Consortium, OSA will work to grow the licensed workforce and ensure that these professionals have foundational competencies in long-term care services. They will also use their expertise to help the Consortium ensure the existence of a stable, trained and accessible direct care workforce of unlicensed care providers. “Based on over 50 combined years of experience in the field of long-term care, our staff is well positioned to move the long-term care continuum forward,” says Macie Smith, Program Development and Training Manager for OSA.

In doing this work, the Office will lead the development and implementation of a comprehensive suite of training modules for professionals (i.e., case managers and care coordinators). This training will help lead to a statewide workforce of trained caregivers in alignment with appropriate credentialing. OSA will also create a set of easily accessible training modules for family caregivers, including a train-the-trainer module that will be regionally available to informal support systems with caregivers.

“Our thorough understanding of adult learning principles and our years of practical experience qualify our staff to develop and disseminate applicable training programs for all skill levels,” Smith says. “We have both academic and practical experience educating the long-term care workforce and the unique opportunity to build upon existing programs previously developed by OSA to address the growing need for aging support services in South Carolina.”

“We know it is not a matter of if we hit a tipping point in South Carolina, but when,” says Hyleman. “The Office for the Study of Aging is ready to help train and improve the long-term care system in South Carolina for all aging Carolinians.”