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PHI Completes Senior Aide Training Program in New York

February 23, 2015

PHI just completed an innovative training program for home care workers who have been selected to be Senior Aides for Independence Care System (ICS), PHI’s affiliate managed care organization. The Senior Aide role is a core component of the Care Connections Project (CCP), a pilot project that was recently funded by the New York State Department of Health.

The overall goal of CCP is to help prevent unnecessary emergency room visits and re-hospitalizations among ICS members. The Care Connections Senior Aides (CCSAs) will play a central role in achieving these outcomes.

ICS partnered with three of its preferred home care providers in this pilot program:

  • Cooperative Home Care Associates,
  • Jewish Association Serving the Aging, and
  • Sunnyside Community Services.

Each agency hired a clinical manager and selected experienced home care workers for the CCSA role. The home care workers that were selected all had demonstrated a high level of skill and compassion as home health aides in the field.

The pre-existing expertise in home care work gave the Senior Aide trainees a strong foundation for the three-month long training program, which was designed and conducted by PHI. The program included six weeks of classroom training and seven weeks of on-the job-training at ICS. 

[PHI's P. Afeefa Murray and CCSA Beverly Harriott]With grounding in PHI’s signature Coaching Approach® communication skills, the 17 aides who participated in the training enhanced their observation and documentation skills, learned how to effectively offer other home care workers support and education, and deepened their knowledge of the chronic diseases that are most likely to lead to the preventable re-hospitalization of ICS members.

They will apply this knowledge by coaching home care workers to attend to and report unusual signs, symptoms, or behaviors that, if caught early, could prevent a decline in health or the need for acute care.

The training culminated with a graduation ceremony that was held at PHI’s Bronx headquarters on February 12th. The trainees were individually honored for their achievements by their PHI trainers, and also collectively congratulated for having demonstrated a willingness to learn and grow, and a deep commitment to supporting both ICS members and home care workers. “We have no doubt that the graduates will succeed in the new Senior Aide role,” said Sara Joffe, PHI Vice President for Organizational Learning and the CCP project lead from PHI. “In so doing, they will pave the way for others — showing the value of home care workers in improving health and reducing costs.”

At the graduation, the trainees also expressed their gratitude for the opportunity they had been given and enthusiasm for their new role. They are particularly enthusiastic about being able to support other home care workers by providing them with a listening ear, as well as with vital information.  

“The real value of the job came to me when I was doing a home visit,” said Beverly Harriott, one of the new Senior Aides. “I could see that the home care worker needed to know more about diabetes, and I was right there to connect her with the information she needed. I’m elated.”

“I’ve been a home care worker for a long time,” she continues. “I love the work. It’s what I do. But my sisters always said it was a ‘dead end’ job. Now I am a CCSA, and they don’t say that anymore.”

— by Renya Larson, PHI Organizational Change Consultant

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