GSW announces 1st-of-its-kind, long-term care management degree
From Staff Reports
AMERICUS — Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) will offer a bachelor of science in long-term care management (LTCM), the first-of-its-kind in the nation, beginning this fall.The new degree program will bring Leisa Easom, Ph.D., to the College of Nursing and Health Sciences as the associate dean. Easom currently serves as executive director of the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving, a unit of GSW.
“A better prepared workforce is needed to care for our nation’s aging and disabled populations,” said Easom. “There is a national crisis with Alzheimer’s and related dementias.” Every 66 seconds someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Georgia is the 11th state with the fastest growing 65 and older population. In addition, one in six children have developmental disabilities while one in 68 children have autism spectrum disorder, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Numerous years as a geriatric nurse and working directly with caregivers over the past eight years uniquely prepare me to lead our new initiative,” Easom stated.
The LTCM degree, offered online and the classroom, will prepare graduates to assist patients and families to connect with community resources, transition from hospital to home, and manage the care of residents in an institutional setting.
As a four-year, interdisciplinary degree, students will take courses from a variety of disciplines — nursing, caregiving, psychology, sociology, and business. They will become knowledgeable in palliative care, hospice, gerontology, family issues, caregiving support, counseling, health promotion, business management, health funding, and cultural competency.
“Employers today express the need for a new skill set and are looking for individuals who are compassionate, culturally sensitive, able to communicate well with others and have managerial skills,” said Easom. “Graduates will be fully equipped to help patients and their families better navigate today’s complicated health care system.”
“Dr. Easom is a nationally renowned expert in the field of caregiving,” said Sandra Daniel, Ph.D., dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences. “I have full confidence that our new long-term care management degree program will undergo substantial growth very quickly as a result of the expertise that she brings in this field.”
“I am proud that Georgia Southwestern is the first university in the nation to offer this exciting and relevant degree program,” said GSW President Neal Weaver. “It is evident to us through our discussions with employers across the country that the time is now for such program and we are excited to expand our current academic offerings to include what we believe will become a highly sought after degree.”
Organizations in the region looking to employ GSW graduates with this degree include hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, Area Agencies on Aging, home health care agencies, state department of aging services, and more.