Education for Healthcare Professionals

Geriatric education programs for healthcare professionals

We provide a variety of education opportunities to train healthcare professionals in best practices for geriatric care, including:

Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program at NNEGEC

The Northern New England Geriatric Education Center (NNEGEC) helps to improve the health and quality of life for older adults by expanding the capacity of the healthcare workforce to provide high-quality, safe, and interprofessional care to older adults, with a specific emphasis on caring for older adults in rural and underserved areas of New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine.

The NNEGEC is one of 44 programs funded nationally through the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP). Over the past decade, the NNEGEC has trained 16,000 individuals in more than 500 programs. From June 2021 to July 2022, our GWEP provided 800 hours of educational content for patients, care partners, and healthcare professionals.

Our programs include intensive trainings for professionals working with older adults, educational materials, and consultation to professionals and providers on best practices in geriatric care. Topics that the NNEGEC has provided education on in the past year include:

  • Advance care planning
  • Chronic care management
  • Dementia care
  • Fall risk reduction
  • Hoarding disorder
  • Medicare Annual Wellness Visits

Geriatric Interprofessional Team Transformation in Primary Care (GITT-PC)

Geriatric Interprofessional Team Transformation in Primary Care (GITT-PC), a model developed by the NNEGEC, moves away from traditional training methodologies by focusing on workforce culture change to empower primary care teams to achieve best practice in geriatrics in primary care. This goal is accomplished by training healthcare professionals from multiple disciplines on:

  • Team skills and optimal team function
  • Quality improvement (QI) tools and methods
  • Optimal implementation of Medicare-reimbursable services and visits, as well as the associated billing codes

As we work toward value-based healthcare and improving the coordination of care for older adults, team effectiveness is a critical component to achieving the desired outcomes for older adults.

This program uses a person-centered approach to focus on how patients can help transform the work of all primary care team members, including medical assistants, nurses, advanced practice clinicians, physicians, office managers, and support staff.

We focus on best practices for Medicare-reimbursable visits such as the Annual Wellness Visit, Chronic Care Management, Transitional Care Management, and Advance Care Planning. Reimbursable visits allow participating practices to sustain their investment in implementing this model through effective billing and reimbursement.

Falls prevention education

The Geriatric Center of Excellence (GCOE) Falls Prevention team works within the Dartmouth Health system as well as with partners throughout New England to screen individuals for fall risk and help them engage in effective falls prevention intervention.

The Falls Prevention team works closely with teams in the following Dartmouth Health departments and programs:

The GCOE team provides leadership and collaborates with the New Hampshire Falls Risk Reduction Task Force, a statewide falls prevention coalition.

The Falls Prevention team delivers training and implementation support to community-based organizations and primary care providers on falls risk screening, referral pathways, and capacity-building for sustainable, effective falls prevention programs. This training aligns with efforts to integrate primary care with community-based organizations and to promote Age-Friendly Health Systems.

Our Falls Prevention training package includes instructor training in Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance® (TJQMBB) and A Matter of Balance.

Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance®

Logo for Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance logo

Tai Ji Quan: Moving for Better Balance (TJQMBB) is a research-based falls prevention program specifically designed for older adults and individuals with balance problems or movement disorders. TJQMBB is appropriate for anyone who is able to ambulate in the community independently but has difficulty with balance or may have fallen or had concerns about falls.

This balance and strengthening exercise class, where participants meet twice a week for 1 hour for 24 weeks, has been shown to:

  • Decrease fall risk by 58% in people 65 and older
  • Decrease fall risk by 67% in people with Parkinson’s Disease
  • Decrease falls with injury by 75%
  • Improve strength, balance, mobility and functional activities

A Matter of Balance

Logo for A Matter of Balance: Managing Concerns About Falls

A Matter of Balance is a classroom-based program that uses discussion, problem solving, cognitive restructuring, exercise introduction, goal setting, and changing environmental risk factors to reduce fear of falling and increase activity in older adults. This class is for anyone concerned about falls or who has fallen in the past, and for anyone who restricts their activities because of falling concerns. Participants in this program meet once a week for 9 weeks.

In A Matter of Balance, participants will learn to:

  • Begin gentle exercise
  • Make changes to reduce fall risks at home
  • Set goals for increasing activity
  • View falls as controllable

Other professional education programs at Dartmouth Health

  • Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship Program trains clinical geriatric psychiatrists who are capable of becoming effective leaders in the field as clinicians, educators, researchers, and advocates. Graduates are well prepared to practice geriatric psychiatry wherever older adults receive healthcare services.