The 2020-21 UVCC junior Medical Careers Academy (MCA) class had the honor of being the first high school class to earn four industry-recognized credentials (IRCs) through the Elder Care Certificate program. These students will begin their second year of the MCA program at Upper Valley in August 2021, and most of them will work within healthcare settings while still in high school making this a certificate even more valuable.
The Elder Care Certificate program was developed in response to the need within the long-term healthcare community for advanced training for staff members to understand the unique needs of elderly persons. Myra Wilson and Anne Johnson of Impact DS Consulting are the pioneers of the program, and developed this course with input from industry leaders. The program is licensed through the Ohio State Innovation Foundation, with ImpactDS holding the exclusive rights to the curriculum. Program topics include: understanding the basic characteristics and implications of aging; responding appropriately to ethical dilemmas; developing a “caring presence” communication approach; enhancing critical thinking skills; exploring the benefits of working with older adults; and learning the skills necessary for excellent customer service.
Each student completed a capstone project that utilized their newly-acquired skills when interacting with an elderly person - whether it was a grandparent, neighbor, or resident/patient within their place of work. Myra and Anne shared with the students how touching the stories from the projects were, and how the spirit of the program could be felt through each experience that they read.
With Upper Valley Career Center being the first successful high school class to complete this certificate, the program is being expanded to high school students throughout that state of Ohio, helping to provide the students these foundational care skills early in their careers.