National HealthCare Corporation, Murfreesboro, Tenn, reports that the NHC Geriatric Clinical Residency Program (GCRP) for physical therapists has received accreditation through the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). The NHC GCRP will be the fourth in the nation and the first within a senior care corporation, according to a statement released by NHC.

Robert Adams, NHC’s chairman and CEO said in the statement that the program will enhance the skills of therapists who are currently working for NHC and should attract therapists from across the country who have special interests in working with the geriatric population.

The GCRP trains and equips therapists to be leaders in geriatric rehabilitation by developing advanced knowledge and skills in direct patient care, management of rehabilitation programs, and teaching, says the statement. The 12-month program uses small group work, guided independent study, continuing education workshops, mentoring by clinical faculty, and teaching opportunities for 1,648 hours minimum of clinical study to prepare residents for the geriatric specialist exam. Therapists passing the exam become certified geriatric clinical specialists.

Middle Tennessee State University’s gerontology and psychology programs have been lending expertise to the program, offering residents a first-hand look at research in geriatrics. The program also taps the knowledge and experience of area physicians, physical therapists, and other clinicians.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated that the demand for physical therapists could grow 27% by 2016, said the statement, adding that an APTA study found that presently, between 13% and 18% of jobs need to be filled by physical therapists ( Many of these openings are in skilled nursing and long-term care settings. As the Baby Boomers begin to enter these facilities, a growing will help prepare for future therapists dedicated to geriatric care, and attract therapists to notoriously tough-to-fill rural areas.

[Source: National HealthCare Corporation]