New workforce development in dementia care: Screening for "caring": Preliminary data

Ann H. Cottingham, Catherine Alder, Mary Guerriero Austrom, Cynthia S. Johnson, Malaz A. Boustani, Debra K. Litzelman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations


The United States has a significant shortage of trained geriatricians and of nurses, social workers, and paraprofessionals educated to care for elderly adults. As the aging population continues to grow, providing high-quality care will require new models that better address the many needs of aging individuals and their caregivers, using cost-effective strategies. Responding to this need, the Indiana University Center for Aging Research implementation scientists developed, tested, and are now scaling up a successful collaborative care coordination model for older adults with dementia, depression, or both: the Aging Brain Care program. This model now includes a newly created frontline care provider position, the Care Coordinator Assistant. The Care Coordinator Assistant works with individuals and caregivers to monitor biopsychosocial needs and deliver evidence-based and individualized care protocols, with close supervision from the registered nurse Care Coordinator. Recognizing that current hiring practices for frontline providers were insufficient to screen for critical abilities expected in this new position, including the ability to express "caring" and empathy, a new screening process was created building on the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI) format. The Care Coordinator Assistant MMI comprised six stations, each created to simulate challenging scenarios that will be frequently encountered and to assess important candidate abilities. Overall, the six-station MMI, with two to three items per station, provided factorially valid measures and good predictive ability. The process did not appear to be overly burdensome for candidates, and interviewers noted that it was helpful in discriminating between candidates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1364-1368
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • direct care workers
  • long-term care workforce
  • screening and hiring
  • task shifting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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