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University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing
The Center for Gerontologic Nursing Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, in Philadelphia, teamed up with Genesis ElderCare, the nation's third largest long-term care provider, to evaluate a palliative care program to enhance the care provided to nursing home residents at the end of life.
Six Genesis nursing homes in Maryland participated in the project called Palliative Care in Nursing Homes. Two nursing homes served as control sites, providing care at a level above industry standards. At another two nursing homes, all staff received training in the concepts and practice of palliative care, emphasizing comfort as well as psychological, social and spiritual well-being. Another two nursing homes complemented this training with a team of palliative care professionals whose members focused on controlling symptoms and improving the patients’ quality of life. Staff were trained and encouraged to honor and nurture residents as whole persons.
The program studied the effect of the training and these special services on patients' and families' experiences as well as on the clinical outcomes and cost of care.
This innovative approach to improving the quality of life for long-term care patients and their loved ones was under the direction of Neville Strumpf, Ph.D., R.N., of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, and Howard Tuch, M.D., medical director of Genesis ElderCare.
After the Grant
Genesis ElderCare integrated palliative care policies and procedures into its nursing home policies, and expanded the program to include four additional nursing homes.
Promoting Excellence in End-of-Life Care was a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation dedicated to long-term changes in health care institutions to substantially improve care for dying people and their families.