Training Program for Geriatric Social Workers

Period of Performance: 09/01/2006 - 08/28/2007


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

NEW England Research Institutes, Inc.
Watertown, MA 02472
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): At least 4 factors underscore the need for continuing professional education for social workers: 1) dramatic increases in the diversity and aging of our population; 2) rapidly shifting policy imperatives; 3) growing competition from related professions, and 4) the emergence of new technologies, services, and resources. In spite of the clear need for high-quality training to enable social workers to succeed in this changing environment, the literature indicates growing recognition of a transfer problem in traditional continuing education in social work. The training transfer problem is particularly acute for the field of geriatric social work. To address this problem, NERI has partnered with the Institute for Geriatric Social Work (IGSW) at Boston University to develop and test a training program, the Working with Older Adults Program, for practicing social workers that maximizes the transfer of practice skills and employs proven techniques of professional education. The program will consist of a series of short videos and a Trainer's Guide that can be used in small-group training sessions delivered conveniently and cost-efficiently in the workplace. The videos will be designed so that they can also be used as a free-standing training tool. In addition, for self-directed learning, the program will be modified and produced on CD-ROM. The program will take an evidence-based, client-centered approach to working with older adults, will be readily incorporated into existing training, and will be accessible to schools of social work, community-based agencies, and individual practitioners. Consistent with evidence from educational research on how adults learn new skills, a major objective of the program will be to model appropriate assessment and communication skills through the use of professional-quality videotaped dramatic vignettes. Expert commentary will accompany each vignette in order to reinforce the teaching points. The Aims of Phase I include: 1) development of a detailed content outline for the full program; 2) development of a script treatment for the prototype video and the content for the associated Trainers Guide; 3) production of the prototype video and related sections of the Trainers Guide; 4) assessment of the feasibility of the program; 5) development of the Phase II production schedule; and 6) development of a commercialization plan. 7. PROJECT NARRATIVE: Continuing education is the primary source of specialty training in geriatric care for social workers. The objective of the Working with Older Adults Program is to develop core competencies that can be applied across a range of practice settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, and community agencies.