Prof. Keefe’s Research Highlights Need for Better Mental Health Training for Case Managers Serving Older Adults

Mental health training is essential for caregivers working with older adults.

Prof. Bronwyn Keefe, director of The Network and the Center for Aging and Disability Education and Research (CADER) at Boston University School of Social Work, is co-author of a new article in the Journal of Applied Gerontology. The paper, titled “Care Managers in the Aging Network: Increasing Self-Efficacy in Human Service Providers” highlights the important role care managers play in providing essential mental health services to older adults.

One in four older adults have behavioral health concerns, but more than 63% are not receiving the mental health care that they need. Many older adults living in the community rely on the aging network for home- and community-based services. Care managers play a critical role in delivering these services; however, many have not been trained around how to support older adults with mental health concerns.

The study found that CADER’s Mental Health and Aging online course increased care managers’ ability to serve older adults experiencing issues around mental health and substance use. The course was especially useful to the workforce because the training could be offered to care managers already working with the adult population. There was a significant difference in mean self-efficacy scores in case managers from pre-test to post-test related to working with people who have mental health problems. These findings suggest that the training course would be beneficial to care managers within the aging network and have important implications for the provision of mental health services for older adults.

The authors hope that the article’s findings will inspire additional research in behavioral health and aging training as the field faces a pivotal moment in providing quality care for a growing, aging community.

Read the full article here.