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Interdisciplinary Team Training in Geriatrics: An Essential Component of Quality Healthcare for Older Adults

Position of the Partnership for Health in Aging (PHA) adopted by the Academy

Abstract

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics continues its participation in the Partnership for Health in Aging (PHA, a loose coalition of organizations representing healthcare professions caring for older adults). PHA recognizes that healthcare professionals working in geriatrics and gerontology are uniquely challenged to identify and provide the appropriate mix of medical and social services that meet the needs of the growing, diverse older adult population. The PHA coalition has used a two step process to develop a qualified work force to provide quality geriatric care. The first step was to identify a set of core competencies necessary in caring for older persons that were relevant to all professions and could be supported by all professions. A workgroup of experts, including an Academy member, in competency development, certification and accreditation represented ten disciplines including nutrition worked on the task. The result was a March 2010 publication entitled, Multidisciplinary Competencies in the Care of the Older Adults at the Completion of the Entry-Level Health Professional Degree. The competencies are broad serving as a baseline for multiple professions and allowing for variations in practice. They reflect the current emphasis on person centered and directed care as well as consumer preferences. The next step for the PHA was the issuance in March 2011 of a position statement entitled, "Position Statement on Interdisciplinary Team Training in Geriatrics: An Essential Component of Quality Healthcare for Older Adults". The statement highlights the capacity of a well trained interdisciplinary team to improve care coordination, adapt to a variety of settings and achieve improved health outcomes. Nutrition care and the involvement of the Registered Dietitian and Dietetic Technician Registered are critical to these aging focused endeavors. As a PHA collaborator, The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetic encourages and supports these initiatives.

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