Senior Care Issue

Building a Senior Safety Skill Set

Developing senior home safety expertise through education, training and certification.

Of course, providing home safety services to patient groups such as seniors involves developing a certain level of expertise in understanding which solutions are right for which patients, how to assess their needs, and how to implement some of the more challenging aspects of home access, such as bathroom remodels. Fortunately, there are education, training and certification options available to help providers.

“As providers become more involved in accessibility, specific education, training and credentialing become a necessity,” says Jerry Keiderling, president of the VGM Group’s Accessible Home Improvement of America (AHIA) division. “For example, patient lifting/handling products will definitely require a manufacturer sponsored training program, ensuring the safe and secure installation and operation of the equipment.

To that end, the AHIA offers its Certified Environmental Access Consultant (CEAC) certification, which ensures the bearers of that certification are formally educated through a standardized curriculum and are credible providers of home access services. The designation shows that the provider is aware of the various home access solutions and services available to the patients they serve, their patients home access needs, and that they are aware of everything entailed in providing those services.

“Accessibility may be an all-encompassing term, but the knowledge base required to formulate a real independent living solution is definitely a specialty,” Keiderling explains. “As a specialty, having a trained and credentialed staff puts your company in the forefront with both consumers and referral sources. That’s why AHIA created and administers the CEAC credentialing program. Covering all aspects of senior living, aging, disease management, trauma care and safety, its comprehensive training program that covers all aspects of what it takes to formulate independent living solutions and how to make them happen.”

With the CEAC credential, providers can demonstrate to other professionals serving patients, such as claims adjusters, grant administrators, case managers, risk managers, health care professionals, federal and state social service directors, and professional organizations that they are qualified in helping a patient with their home access needs.

Besides providers, the CEAC certification is available to other specialists, such as independent living specialists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, remodeling contractors and builders, interior designers, engineers, rehabilitation specialists, case managers, public health nurses, assistive technology specialists, life care planners. So, involvement in the AHIA and possessing CEAC credentials puts the provider in a nationwide network of professionals from various backgrounds providing home access and independent living services and providers to patients. This gives providers a deep pool of referral resources and potential partnerships, as well.

Providers considering branching into home access services, and that are interested CEAC certification can learn more about the organization and certification by visiting the AHIA at www.accesshomeamerica.com.

This article originally appeared in the August 2012 issue of HME Business.

About the Author

David Kopf is the Publisher and Executive Editor of HME Business and DME Pharmacy magazines. Follow him on Twitter at @postacutenews.

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