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Helping Older Adults Stay Independent

“The needs of vulnerable populations often lie beyond the reach of much of the mainstream health care system,” said Ahrin Mishan, executive director of the Hillman Foundation.

A three-year, $600,000 grant from the Rita & Alex Hillman Foundation and an additional $600,000 pending award from the Michigan Department of Community Health will allow MSU’s College of Nursing to expand services that help older adults stay in their homes and communities.

Innovations in Care is a multi-year grant program created by the Hillman Foundation to enhance and expand nursing-driven projects that care for vulnerable populations.

“The needs of vulnerable populations often lie beyond the reach of much of the mainstream health care system,” said Ahrin Mishan, executive director of the Hillman Foundation. “This is where nursing comes in. Nursing-driven innovations have a long history of making an enormous impact in these communities, and we strive to build on this tradition by bringing effective new models to scale.”

The $1.2 million in new funding will be used to expand a program that provides team-based home care and home repair services to help older adults. The college had already successfully piloted the program, called MiCAPABLE, with support from the Michigan Department of Community Health MI Choice Medicaid waiver program, which seeks to help older adults avoid nursing home admissions.

The new funding will allow the college to expand services to three of Michigan’s 20 MI Choice waiver sites and will be used to train clinicians and offer MiCAPABLE to 270 patients.

Participating older adults will receive 12 weeks of home visits from a team that includes a registered nurse, an occupational therapist, and a handyman.  To ensure that the needs of an aging adult are met, the team’s work can include health care services, training to improve functionality and avoid falls, home accessibility improvements (e.g. installing bathroom grab bars), and managing medications.

An expansion of Community Aging in Place—Advancing Better Living for Elders (CAPABLE), a successful nursing-driven program originally launched by Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, MiCAPABLE will be co-led by MSU College of Nursing’s Sandra Spoelstra, PhD, RN, and Sarah Szanton, PhD, RN/ANP, from Johns Hopkins.

“This program expansion will seamlessly build on our pilot program and is the next step to making MiCAPABLE available to all 15,000 lower-income, older adults across the state who are nursing-home eligible yet trying to remain at home,” said Spoelstra.

A six-person review committee at the foundation selected the MSU College of Nursing from more than 260 applications, narrowed to 23 finalists. The committee grants awards to programs that demonstrate the greatest likelihood of broad impact and align with improving health, reducing costs, and improving the patient and caregiver experience.

For more information on making a gift to the College of Nursing, contact Director of Development and Alumni Relations Eric Sturdy, Jr. at eric.sturdy@hc.msu.edu or by calling (517) 432-5033.

Author: Alisa Healy

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