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Release: Nov. 17, 1999

Researchers get $1.5 million for translating scientific findings

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa Health Care researchers have been awarded a $1.5 million federal grant to study the effectiveness of methods to translate scientific findings into nursing and medical care for elder adults experiencing acute pain. The three-year study will involve patients older than 65 who are hospitalized with hip fractures.

The research team, led by Marita Titler, Ph.D., will study how to promote the use of evidence-based guidelines designed to improve pain management among older people. Titler is director of Research, Quality and Outcomes Management in the department of nursing and patient care services at the UI Hospitals and Clinics, and director of the Research Dissemination Core (RDC) of the Gerontological Nursing Interventions Research Center in the UI College of Nursing. Other members of the investigative team include faculty from the College of Nursing, the UI College of Medicine and the UI College of Pharmacy. Research sites include 10 community hospitals in Iowa and Illinois and two academic medical centers in Missouri.

The study, funded by the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR), will examine the extent that nurses and physicians adopt research-based, acute pain management guidelines in caring for patients 65 years and older who are hospitalized for hip fractures.

"We want to know three things," said Titler, a registered nurse and the study's principal investigator. "One, will doctors and nurses adopt these guidelines to better manage acute pain in the elderly? Two, how can we best encourage more health care practitioners to implement these pain management guidelines? And three, is the use of these pain management guidelines cost effective?"

The guidelines for acute pain management among older adults are based upon evidence from previous research that demonstrated their effectiveness. The upcoming study will help determine how to best facilitate the adoption of the guidelines among health care providers.

"We know that when health care providers base their practice on findings from previous research, the result is better patient outcomes," Titler said. "We hope that this study will show us

how to best promote the use of pain management guidelines more extensively and consistently, thus improving management of acute pain in the elderly."

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide.