Perspectives on Training Needs for Geriatric Mental Health Providers: Preparing to Serve a Diverse Older Adult Population.

Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, (JHJ), School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

An increasingly diverse population of older adults requires a diverse workforce trained to address the problem of differential healthcare access and quality of care. This article describes specific areas of training focused on addressing health disparities based on ethnic differences. Culturally competent care by mental health providers, innovative models of mental health service delivery such as collaborative care, and expansion of the mental health workforce through integration of lay health workers into professional healthcare teams, offer potential solutions and require training. Cultural competency, defined as respect and responsiveness to diverse older adults' health beliefs, should be an integral part of clinical training in mental health. Clinicians can be trained in avoidance of stereotyping, communication and development of attitudes that convey cultural humility when caring for diverse older adults. Additionally, mental health clinicians can benefit from inter-professional education that moves beyond professional silos to facilitate learning about working collaboratively in interdisciplinary, team-based models of mental health care. Finally, familiarity with how lay health workers can be integrated into professional teams, and training to work and supervise them are needed. A growing and diversifying population of older adults and the emergence of innovative models of healthcare delivery present opportunities to alleviate mental health disparities that will require relevant training for the mental health workforce.

Keywords

Training,cultural competency,geriatric,healthcare,mental health,paraprofessionals,