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University of Iowa News Release


Nov. 8, 2006

Maas And Specht Deemed 'Edge Runners' By Nursing Academy

University of Iowa College of Nursing faculty members Meridean Maas (photo, left), Ph.D., professor, and Janet Specht, Ph.D., associate professor, have earned the Edge Runners Award from the American Academy of Nursing (AAN). This is the inaugural year for this honor, which recognizes nursing professionals who are on the cutting edge of finding new ways to integrate the mental and physical health of patients.

Maas and Specht developed, owned and operated an innovative long-term care facility for people with dementia, incorporating one of the nation's first alternative, integrative nursing-models of care for this patient population. The environment, staffing and care interventions used at Liberty Country Living were based on the most current research evidence.

A high-quality, cost-effective alternative to typical institutional options, Liberty Country Living provided a small, family-oriented, home-like and familiar environment, which proved to reduce the severity of issues commonly associated in persons with dementia, including wandering, incontinence and aggressive behaviors. The facility operated in North Liberty for five years.

"While fully compliant with the Department of Human Services Community Supported Living rules and standards, Liberty Country Living did not fit the description of Dementia Specific Assisted Living rules, and did not qualify for Medicare or Medicaid," said Kathleen Buckwalter, Ph.D., the Sally Mathis Hartwig Distinguished Professor of Gerontological Nursing and director of the John A. Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence at the UI College of Nursing. "This is not surprising in that many high-quality innovations and experiments consistent with the AAN's Edge Runner philosophy do not conveniently 'fit' current regulatory molds, and are ahead of their time." 

The award will be presented at the 33rd AAN annual meeting and conference Nov. 9-11 in Miami.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa College of Nursing, 101 Nursing Building, Iowa City, Iowa 52242

MEDIA CONTACT: Michele Francis, 319-335-8960,