Profs. Muroff, Keefe, & BU Colleagues Receive Grant to Develop Simulation Training for Conducting Home Assessments

Prof. Jordana Muroff and Prof. Bronwyn Keefe

Home visits are a key part of being a health and social service professional. However, graduate students often do not receive hands-on, interprofessional learning in class to prepare them for home assessments at field placements or after graduation. To address this, Profs. Jordana Muroff and Bronwyn Keefe from BU School of Social Work (BUSSW) and Karen Jacobs and Craig Slater from the BU Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences are developing the Home Safety Training Project, an online simulation program that guides students in performing home assessments for people with disabilities and older adults, made possible by a grant from the BU Shipley Center

“A home’s condition can be related to personal factors, such as mental health conditions or other health challenges, as well as structural factors, like crowded housing, unaffordable housing, and housing quality,” Muroff explains. Social work and healthcare professionals may also encounter personal risks associated with visiting unsafe home environments, and may feel unprepared going into some home environments. To do their work effectively, they need the skills to assess the person’s needs and potential safety risks in the home environment in order to feel confident in their work.

While BUSSW and Sargent College students develop these skills during field placements, “leaving home assessment training to field agencies can lead to a variety of training depth, standardization, and quality,” says Keefe. The Home Safety Training Project seeks to bridge these gaps. “By creating an interactive, innovative, and standardized training program, students will graduate with hands-on experience in home assessment that can be immediately applied to their future careers. The training will also lessen the burden of training new graduates on the job and allow for deeper learning opportunities in their places of work.”

The Home Safety Training Project will feature six online modules that students learn independently, and an interactive module completed with other students for interprofessional learning, practice, and collaboration. “Students will learn about personal, social, and structural factors associated with collaborative home assessment,” says Muroff. “Instead of training social work and health professionals in silos, this simulation training fosters interprofessional collaborative learning, discussion of roles and scopes of practice, peer-to-peer mentoring, and skills application. Students will have the opportunity to practice skills using a number of interactive, web-based tools.”

If successful, the pilot could lead to promising programs for home and community-based agencies. Keefe, who among her many roles at BUSSW is also assistant dean of Workforce & Professional Development adds, “This training could also be used by agencies around the country as a key onboarding tool for all new hires, and become a standard part of agency training.” The Home Safety Training pilot is a first step toward a more holistic educational experience for aspiring social work and health care professionals.

Learn More About Prof. Muroff’s Research

Learn More About Prof. Keefe’s Research