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More interdisciplinary team training needed: paper

May 8, 2014
by Lois A. Bowers, Senior Editor
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Interdisciplinary team (IDT) training results in better care coordination and improved health outcomes for older adults, regardless of the care setting; therefore, more healthcare professionals need to be trained in this approach, according to a new position paper published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

The paper was written by a workgroup of the Partnership for Health in Aging, a coalition of more than 30 organizations representing professionals who care for older adults.

“When healthcare providers work independently, care can be unduly fragmented and fail to address the older person's overall needs,” say the authors. “For example, an individual's multiple health problems might be properly diagnosed, with appropriate treatments chosen, but the individual might also have cognitive and psychological problems that impede his or her understanding of those treatments, be unable to ambulate and perform activities of daily living, or lack the proper physical environment and adequate social support to live successfully at home. In an IDT, all of these needs can be addressed proactively and simultaneously, with providers working together to accomplish common goals and produce a well-conceived, comprehensive care plan.”

The paper presents evidence of the effectiveness of IDT, calls for advocacy to increase and improve formal training and lists IDT resources.

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