Caregiving Crisis: An Opportunity for Geriatric Nursing Leadership

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Linda Sue Davis, RN, MSN, GCNS-BC
Pulaski Adult Day Service & Fall Prevention Center, Inc, Pulaski, VA
Alison Galway, PhD
Virginia Tech Adult Day Services, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

Learning Objective 1: discuss the Geriatric Nursing Leadership Academy and how participation in the program can enhance their leadership role in interdisciplinary teams.

Learning Objective 2: explore the role of the leadership journey in their development of entrepreneurship and innovative solutions to support community-based aging in place.

The purpose of this project was to develop and lead an interdisciplinary team in establishing a Center for older adults that will provide programs and services which increase the length of time that the participants remain independent, mobile, and living in community. Research shows that evidence-based programs can defer transfer to more costly and more restrictive institutional settings; ultimately, increasing the quality of life of older adults and caregivers in the community.  Inspiration for this project was personal experience of the caregiving crisis which is global in nature.  The project also served as a mentoring opportunity for personal growth and professional development in the context of the Geriatric Nursing Leadership Academy.      The knowledge base and scope of practice of a Gerontological Clinical Nurse Specialist were significant in facilitating development of the interdisciplinary team. Development of the nonprofit corporation and the business plan were integral to the process of learning to communicate on a different level with community leaders. Selection of a mentor was essential to developing the leadership skills needed to ensure the success and sustainability of the project. Collaborative partnerships with stakeholders in the community has the potential to expand the scope of the project and enable the Center to provide more comprehensive services which will support community-based aging in place.     Review of current literature for adult day programs and evidence-based fall risk assessment and intervention strategies provided the basis for development of the Center. Collaboration and consultation with mentors and stakeholders were vital in planning the facility.     It is concluded that the Geriatric Nursing Leadership Academy is effective in developing the skills required to lead interdisciplinary teams who can develop innovative solutions and improve services for older adults and caregivers in the community setting.