Projects

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Bringing together Minnesota’s best minds in geriatrics care and education

A goal of the Minnesota Northstar GWEP is to facilitate and strengthen meaningful support and collaboration of key partners in the geriatrics field. The University of Minnesota is joined by eight community partners to provide greater access community education in aging and dementia, improve geriatrics training in health professions, and transform primary care clinical training and practice sites to provide Age-Friendly care. Partners include: 

  • Community-University Health Care Center 
  • Dementia Friends  
  • Fairview Health Services  
  • Minnesota Association of Area Agencies on Aging (m4a) 
  • Minnesota Board on Aging 
  • Minnesota Gerontological Society 
  • Minnesota Leadership Council on Aging  
  • Stratis Health  

Educating current and future health professionals in Age-Friendly care

The Minnesota Northstar GWEP is preparing the current and future workforce to care for older adults and create Age-Friendly systems. Our team is implementing a multi-faceted geriatrics training program to reach a wide variety of healthcare providers and interprofessional learners in Minnesota. This program includes:

The Geriatrics Education and Training (GET) Repository, a rich online resource collection of educational materials. Resources include geriatric care toolkits, learning modules, case studies, clinical tools, patient education materials, and more. This is created in collaboration with the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education.   

  • Development of new and updated geriatrics education materials and webinars to include current care challenges, such as substance and opioid use disorder, chronic care self-management, disaster preparedness, and care transitions
  • Training and resources for clinical preceptors in geriatric care and collaborative practice in preparation for student rotations
  • Interprofessional Geriatric Case Competition, an extracurricular activity to enhance the professional and leadership development of health professions students
  • Expanded training for School of Dentistry students, working with other health professionals, to meet the increasing need for greater access to comprehensive dental services for older adults
  • Training personnel in long-term care to maximize safety for older adults, including those with dementia

Transforming primary care clinics for Age-Friendly care and learning

The Minnesota Northstar GWEP aims to implement and demonstrate the ways we can transform primary care clinics throughout the state of Minnesota to better integrate Age-Friendly geriatrics care. By concentrating efforts on clinics where students and residents learn, we can improve care while changing the way our next generation of healthcare professionals practice. Stages of this project include:

  • Determining and providing the training and equipment needed to deliver Age-Friendly care—care that is patient goal-oriented, high quality, safe, and valued—to two pilot clinics.
  • Refining the training and support for Age-Friendly care and education, based on learning in the pilot clinics, to expand the program.
  • Transforming all 56 community clinics in the M Health Fairview system’s Primary Care Service Line by the end of the fifth year to provide high-quality, Age-Friendly primary care to older adults.

Offering public education and support for families and direct care workers

Since Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia are especially challenging when caring for older adults, the Minnesota Northstar GWEP has several programs targeting these complex conditions. Through education “roadshows,” conferences, community speaking engagements, and radio spots, we are reaching out to people in all corners of our state with dementia information and support. Programs include:

Focusing on dementia care, support, and safety

The Minnesota Northstar GWEP provides education to support older adults. Through a partnership with Dementia Friends, we will train health professionals, students, and community members. Additional specific training programs for professionals focus on dentistry, exercise, and safety for patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Projects include:

  • The Dementia Friends training program for students, direct care providers, and a variety of healthcare professionals.
  • Dementia Friendly Dental Practices for dentistry clinicians and professionals caring for older adults with dementia.
  • FIT-AD Certificate Program, a continuing education opportunity teaching safe and engaging fitness and exercise for those with dementia.
  • Development of education materials to prepare the geriatric workforce to maximize reasonable safety for long-term care patients—including patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

By taking these measures, we hope to make major strides toward closing the gap when it comes to Age-Friendly care. Our goal is for all Minnesotan geriatric patients to receive treatment that faithfully adheres to the 4M framework: what matters in their lives, their medications, their mobility, and their mentation. We will do this together.