25 years of enhancing the health and standard of living of senior citizens

A world authority in enhancing the health and standard of living of senior citizens, the Indiana University Center for Aging Research at Regenstrief Institute is marking its 25th anniversary.

Over the past 25 years, our researchers and staff have made several contributions to the field, including leading-edge research in a variety of areas, including palliative care, advance care planning, delirium, depression, dementia, and deprescribing.

The concept of “the patient” has been expanded by centre researchers to include family carers, with a particular focus on health equity. One of the first team-approach elder care models (GRACE) has also been developed and tested, along with additional cutting-edge models of collaborative care for patients receiving care in outpatient settings, nursing home residents, and critical care survivors, including COVID-19 patients. A number of Center investigations have been acknowledged as seminal contributions to the development of geriatric medicine.

The Center’s research places a big emphasis on enhancing long-term care quality and lowering avoidable hospitalisations. The Avoidable Transfer Scale, a cutting-edge tool created by our research scientists, uses information typically found in a nursing home resident’s electronic medical record to identify and characterise potentially avoidable hospitalisations while highlighting problems that can be resolved in the nursing home itself.

Another model created by research scientists, UPLIFT-AD (short for Utilizing Palliative Leaders In Institutions to Transform Caring for Alzheimer’s Disease), intends to increase and assess the capacity for palliative care within long-term care facilities. A team led by research scientist Jennifer Carnahan, M.D., MPH, M.A., is examining data on carer and patient challenges and perspectives on transitions from hospitals to skilled nursing facilities and how to improve return to the home environment as part of the ongoing NIFT-E (Nurse Intervention to Facilitate Transition to home Environment) study.

A trial of advance care planning that is currently being carried out in more than 170 nursing homes across the United States also focuses on long-term care. The APPROACHES study (short for Aligning Patient Preferences – a Role Offering Alzheimer’s patients, Caregivers, and Healthcare providers Education and Support) equips facilities with the tools required for these crucial discussions and trains staff to train other staff members and implement procedures to support advance care planning for residents.

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The Center has a proven track record of training geriatricians, other physicians, and researchers from both the present and the future.

Care for older individuals living in the community as well as in institutions has been influenced locally, nationally, and worldwide by the IU Center for Aging Research at Regenstrief.

The National Institutes of Health, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Defense, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, RRF Foundation, Greenwall Foundation of New York, John A. Hartford Foundation, Regenstrief Institute, Regenstrief Foundation, and many others have all provided funding for the Center’s research over the past 25 years.

To spread effective interventions and cutting-edge inventions, the Regenstrief Institute is working with the IU Center for Aging Research to close the gap between academia and entrepreneurship. One illustration is the Institute’s investment in Probari, a business that specialises in care coordination and is run by Center research scientist Kathleen Unroe, M.D. The business evolved from the long-term Center study OPTIMISTIC, which created a care model that resulted in a 33% decrease in needless hospitalisations of nursing home residents, saving $3.4 million while enhancing care.

The IU Center for Aging Research has expanded from the original four researchers to 16 active faculty members today, including two of the original researchers: Daniel O. Clark, Ph.D., a medical sociologist whose research focuses on the effects of physical activity on memory and cognition, and internist Christopher Callahan, M.D., who joined Regenstrief Institute as a fellow in 1988 and served as the Center’s first director until 2019.

The IU Center for Aging Research at Regenstrief Institute has been a group of researchers dedicated to the difficulty of caring for older folks and their carers, assisting these frequently vulnerable people to enhance their quality of life, since its inception. As we celebrate our 25th anniversary, we look forward to more innovations from the Center and its positive influence on older persons’ lives both domestically and abroad.

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