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Michigan Releases Report on State’s PCA Training Demonstration Project

December 23, 2014

The Michigan Office of Services to the Aging (OSA) released a report on December 11 on the state’s federal training demonstration project for a personal and home care aide training program, entitled “Building Training…Building Quality” (BTBQ).

The program was developed to create a “gold standard” of training for personal care aides (PCAs) and other home care workers where no federal training standards currently exist. Michigan focused on PCAs serving older adults and individuals with disabilities enrolled in a Medicaid waiver program.

The BTBQ program also focused on the need to increase recruitment of PCAs. By 2020, Michigan will need to recruit, hire, and train an additional 32,000 direct-care staff — an increase of over 32 percent within a decade.

“Michigan’s population of older adults and individuals with a disability is outpacing the number of workers with the skills to care for them,” said OSA Director Kari Sederburg. “This is an issue Michigan’s aging network is well aware of and we’re taking action on to ensure residents have options for quality care at home as they age.”

Michigan was one of six states to receive a three-year, Personal and Home Care Aide State Training Program (PHCAST) federal demonstration grant in 2010, to develop, implement, and evaluate an evidence-based, model training program for personal care aides.

There are no federal training requirements for Medicaid-funded PCAs — unlike home health aides, hospice aides, and certified nursing assistants, which do have federal Medicare and Medicaid training requirements.

The BTBQ program was designed around core competencies which were validated by home care employers, consumers, and workers. It uses adult learner teaching methodologies to teach clinical skills and to ground PCAs in delivering person-centered supports and services.

Among the many accomplishments of the BTBQ program are that it has:

  • Developed a 77-hour pre-service training program and equipped 28 trainers from across Michigan to successfully train personal and home care aides working in individual homes, congregate facilities, and in self-direction delivery models.
  • Trained 393 people using the core curriculum and compared their learnings to a control group of 100 people who wanted the training but did not receive it.

“Training PCAs will increase quality and reduce costs as well as improve the lives of PCAs,” said Clare Luz, Ph.D., of Michigan State University, who was the lead evaluator and an author of the report.

Some of the evaluation findings include:

  • Substantial knowledge and skills gained by all learner sub-groups, even those that had completed a state CNA training course;
  • An appreciation and recognition of the value of the person-centered and adult learner-centered components in the curriculum;
  • Improved job satisfaction scores and increased likelihood of continued employment in this field; and
  • Improved employability and employment among the learners.

The BTBQ program was led by a partnership between OSA; Michigan State University; Dan Ochylski, M.S. R.N.; and PHI.  

“In focus groups with successful graduates, comments on the training’s impact repeatedly labelled the experience as a ‘game-changer.’ Participants also said that the training ‘completely changed my career and life,’ ‘opened up doors,’ and ‘has given me another chance,'” said PHI Midwest Manager Hollis Turnham, who was also on the BTBQ Leadership Team and an author of the report.

The BTBQ Final Report and Executive Summary are available online.

To learn more about PCAs and other direct-care workers in Michigan, visit the PHI Michigan website.

— by Deane Beebe

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