CONTACT: DEREK MAURER
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-8964; fax (319) 384-4638
Release: Aug. 16, 2001
Lt. Gov. Pederson to dedicate geriatric nursing excellence
Lt. Gov. Sally Pederson will deliver the keynote address
during opening ceremonies for the Iowa Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing
Excellence (HCGNE) on Thursday, Aug. 23, beginning at 2 p.m. at the University
of Iowa College of Nursing. Other distinguished guests planning to attend
the opening ceremony include U.S. Rep. Jim Leach,
UI President Mary Sue Coleman, state Sen. Bob Dvorsky of Coralville and state
Rep. Dick Myers
of Iowa City.
Established Jan. 1 with $1.33 million in funding from
the John A. Hartford Foundation, the center is set to implement initiatives
in research, education, nursing practice and health policy to improve the
quality of nursing care for older adults.
The 2000 census showed Iowa ranks as one of the oldest
states. Nearly one in five Iowans -- 18.8 percent -- is 60 or older, with
those 85 and older making up 2.2 percent of the population. Moreover, according
to the census, almost 30 percent of Iowans 65 and older live alone, and a
quarter of Iowa households have individuals 65 and older living in them. Other
data suggest that most older adults have chronic health problems, with half
of Americans 65 and older reporting at least one disability that affects their
ability to perform normal activities of daily living.
The Iowa HCGNE will address the needs of Iowa's elders
by adapting the latest health care research for use in patient care and disseminating
information to practicing nurses, said Meridean Maas, Ph.D., professor and
chair of the College of Nursing's Adult and Gerontology Nursing area of study
and principal investigator and director of the new center. The center also
will develop programs to educate undergraduate and graduate nursing students
in geriatric care; train and mentor nurse scientists early in their careers;
promote public policy aimed at improving care for older adults; and increase
public awareness of the contributions nursing care makes to better and more
cost effective health services for older adults.
"The College of Nursing has already generated a wide range
of innovations in nursing care for elders," Maas said, in such areas as pain
management, fall prevention, pressure ulcer prevention and treatment, training
family members who care at home for individuals with Alzheimer's disease,
and urinary incontinence. "The Iowa HCGNE will help
us ensure that these improved practices are taught to our students, nurses
already in the workforce and health care administrators."
Paula Forest, UI assistant professor (clinical) of nursing
and program coordinator for the Iowa HCGNE, said one benefit of spreading
innovations in geriatric nursing care will be to reduce the need for older
adults to enter nursing homes, thereby maintaining their self esteem and independence.
Noting that long-term care is expensive and not covered by Medicare, Forest
said, "Preventing admissions to nursing homes by keeping people safe and healthy
in their homes will save money, and older persons and their families with
have a greater quality of life."
The Iowa HCGNE also will develop educational programs
for long-term care nurses, Forest said, with the goal of improving both the
quality of care in nursing homes and job satisfaction for nurses. Maas also
noted that the center will work to develop partnerships with staff in all
types of community settings that serve elders so that faculty and students
can learn from their knowledge and experience.
The UI College of Nursing was one of five schools the
Hartford Foundation chose to house one of its geriatric nursing excellence
centers last year. Organizationally, the center has close collaborative relationships
with the college's Adult and Gerontology Nursing area of study and the Gerontological
Nursing Interventions Research Center, and with the UI's Center on Aging and
Geriatric Education Center.
The John A. Hartford Foundation, Inc., of New York is
a private philanthropy established in 1929. Since 1979 the foundation has
focused on improving the quality and financing of health care and enhancing
the health care system's capacity to accommodate the nation's growing elderly
population. The majority of the foundation's current grants relate to geriatric
research and training, as well as integrating and improving health services
for older adults.