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The Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP) is a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant awarded to the LVHN Department of Family Medicine. It’s designed to improve the care of geriatric patients and the education of the primary care workforce to provide this care.

Lehigh Valley Health Network departments of Population Health, Community Health and Family Medicine collaborate with six primary care residency practices in implementing the Guided Care Model. A team of guided care registered nurses and community health workers work with these practices in caring for panels of 50 to 60 geriatric patients per month with complex health issues (e.g. diabetes, COPD, congestive heart failure). The team has specific focus on the frail elderly, patients with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia (ADRD), as well as educating and supporting their caregivers to reduce caregiver stress.

In addition, the GWEP team works closely with community stakeholders like the Alzheimer’s AssociationUnited WayCedar Crest College and Lehigh County Office of Aging and Adult Services to improve community-based services for the elderly and their caregivers, focused on healthy aging, fall prevention, dementia and caregiver support.

Five of the practices are supported by a Community Care Team (CCT). The team works directly with the patients, family members and caregivers in their homes. Health professions, students and residents work together with the guided care RNs, community health workers (CHWs) and CCTs in primary care practices to learn evidence-based, best practices for the integration of geriatrics into primary care. Project trainees include 1,600 patients and family members/caregivers, and 1,200 community members, who learn through individual, small-group and large-group presentations by members of this collaborative project.

Learn more about other initiatives and collaborations in the Department of Community Health.

What is the goal? 

To develop a replicable, scalable model of integrating primary care for the elderly – and the education of the needed workforce – into primary care practices to meet the growing health care needs of older populations.

Who is eligible for services? 

LVHN geriatric patients at selected primary care practices.

Get involved 

Cathy A. Coyne
Director of Health Advocacy and Policy
Department of Community Health