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Master of Health Science: Aged Care Management

Nov 03, 2019

The need for well-trained managers for the delivery of high-quality care and services for the aging population is expected to increase at least through 2028. This article presents courses common to a geriatric care management master's degree, as well as the admission requirements for these programs.

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Due to growth of the aging population, those qualified in the management of geriatric individuals and their unique needs could be essential, and a graduate degree is this field should be valuable. This type of degree commonly falls under the category of a master's in aging services management, geriatric care management, or health care administration with a concentration in aging. Described below are the admission requirements typical for this program, as well as common courses needed for this degree.

Standard Admission Requirements for a Master's Program Related to Aged Care Management

Many universities with master's degrees in aged care management require that prospective students fill out a general graduate school application as well as an application specific to the gerontology department or school of health affiliated with the university. Transcripts from all undergraduate schools attended are mandatory, with proof of a minimum GPA of 3.0 in most cases. Applicants must usually supply two or more recommendation letters from professors or other professionals who have supervised or worked closely with them. Some schools ask for the submission of GRE scores but may waive this request if the applicant has a strong academic record. Finally, graduate programs typically require a letter of intent or statement of purpose that outlines the student's areas of interest and career goals as they pertain to geriatric services management.

Common Core Courses in Aged Care Management Master's Degree Programs

While electives vary among universities and often relate to the individual student's concentration, there are core courses common to most of these programs. Below is a selection of classes typical for an master's degree in geriatric management services.

The Process of Aging

An understanding of the aging process and its effects on the human body represents a fundamental basis for providing services for the geriatric population. Students may learn about the physiological, emotional, social, and psychological developments that occur as people age. Instruction often focuses on diseases of the elderly, including vision and hearing changes, Alzheimer's, and dementia-related pathologies. Insight into how people age and their evolving needs can inform decisions required to create appropriate care models, including safe living situations and healthy lifestyles.

Research Methods

Understanding how research is performed and being able to analyze outcomes are important components of a program in aged care administration. Students need the skills to comprehend statistics and use data to evaluate areas such as aging trends and demographic information. Further, knowledge of applied sociology is a critical part of analyzing research in order to solve real-world issues and challenges. In the field of geriatrics, this could apply to following trends in attitudes toward the elderly and in the delivery of care to this population.

Ethical and Legal Considerations

Those in the management of geriatric services must be familiar with policies put in place to protect the elderly and their well-being. For instance, assisted living and residential communities for the aged must comply with state safety regulations. Students must also be informed about Federal guidelines that determine qualifications for housing low-income, elderly people. Classes can instruct students on how to provide information to the elderly and their caregivers about their legal rights. In addition, ethical concerns such as discrimination toward and attitudes about the elderly are often presented.

Financial and Economic Issues

Financial considerations regarding the elderly can range from assistance in handling their finances to the monetary challenges involved in managing facilities that provide care for this population. In the case of the latter, administrators need to know how to market their services and the offerings of their communities, as well as how to plan budgets and allocate funds. In addition, prospective geriatric care managers should learn about the resources available to individuals on a fixed income and be able to present available benefit options to them.

General Management

This broad topic encompasses subjects such as the administration of services for the geriatric population and interactions with the elderly and their caregivers to maximize quality of care. Future managers of residences and communities for the aged must acquire a variety of skills including promoting overall health, encouraging social interactions, and maintaining a safe environment, as well as supervising the staff who work within these communities. Students can also learn how to work with both individuals and their caregivers to come up with the best plan for their well-being, whether that entails living independently or residing in a retirement community, an assisted care facility, or hospice care.

Final Project

Some programs require that students complete an independent project that summarizes what they have learned and demonstrates their mastery of the coursework taken. When developing this capstone project, students can implement their research skills and knowledge of the geriatrics field to solve an issue that might arise in a real-world situation. Often, students will write a report and present their findings before a faculty committee.

The need for skilled, knowledgeable, and compassionate aged care management should continue to increase as the population ages. Master's programs in geriatric services management go by various names and are widely available to individuals wishing to pursue this career field.

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