Sign Up to Receive PHI Alerts

Innovative Training to Prevent Elder Abuse

March 17, 2016

— PHI Introduces New Approach to Training Direct-Access Staff —

Bronx, NY — An innovative PHI training program designed to prevent elder abuse and neglect will be the focus of a workshop that will take place on the afternoon of March 20 at the Aging in America (AiA) Conference in Washington, DC.

PHI, the nation's leading authority on the direct-care workforce, successfully rolled out its Training to Prevent Adult Abuse and Neglect (TPAAN) curriculum in Michigan last year, with more than 850 direct-access staff trained in methods to prevent physical and emotional, and financial neglect of elders.

TPAAN goes beyond the usual "identify and report" approach to elder abuse training by teaching caregivers skills that help prevent abusive situations. In a just released case study — Beyond Reporting: A Prevention Approach to Elder Abuse and Neglect — PHI Michigan Manager Hollis Turnham notes that many cases of elder abuse begin when caregivers simply "do not know how to cope with the stresses of caring for elders while balancing the other complications of life and work. All of us are potential abusers."

TPAAN promotes communication and interpersonal skills that help caregivers and other people who have regular contact with elders and adults with disabilities to listen more effectively, manage their emotions when under stress, and turn potentially explosive situations into positive, meaningful interactions. One participant from a senior services center explained the importance of the skills taught in the training, noting that "When someone comes to work day in and day out and feels they can’t speak up, we are risking more abuse and neglect."

TPAAN is designed as a train-the-trainer program. PHI Organizational Change Consultants Cean Eppelheimer and Anna Ortigara co-facilitated trainings for more than two dozen Michigan elder services staff and volunteers who then disseminated the training throughout the state to an estimated 850 direct-access workers. Following the trainings, approximately 95 percent of those trained reported that they learned new ways to handle stressful situations, and 98 percent indicated that all their questions about reporting abuse and neglect were answered.

At the AiA conference, Turnham will join Eppelheimer, who played a key role in developing the curriculum, and Michigan State University assistant professor Clare Luz in presenting the origins of TPAAN, the unique training approach, and the outcomes of the Michigan demonstration. (PHI is a co-sponsor of the AiA conference, which will be held March 20-24 at Washington's Marriott Wardman Park and Omni Shoreham hotels.)

The TPAAN curriculum can be adapted to the specific needs of any state or regional long-term services and supports setting or provider. To read the TPAAN case study or to learn more about how PHI can assist you in bringing TPAAN to your state, visit our website at:

— end —

PHI (Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute) works to transform eldercare and disability services. We foster dignity, respect, and independence — for all who receive care, and all who provide it. The nation's leading authority on the direct-care workforce, PHI promotes quality direct-care jobs as the foundation for quality care (

Karen Kahn, PHI Director of Communications; 978-740-9844

Caring for the Future

Our new policy report takes an extensive look at today's direct care workforce—in five installments.

Workforce Data Center

From wages to employment statistics, find the latest data on the direct care workforce.