MSUToday
Published: Nov. 3, 2014

$1.2 million nursing grant helps older adults stay home for care

Contact(s): Sarina Gleason Media Communications office: (517) 355-9742 sarina.gleason@cabs.msu.edu, Jill Vondrasek College of Nursing office: (517) 353-8742 jill.vondrasek@hc.msu.edu

The Michigan State University College of Nursing has been awarded a $600,000, three-year grant to help older adults stay home and receive care, instead of being admitted to a nursing home.

The grant was awarded by the Rita & Alex Hillman Foundation through its Innovations in Care program, which is a multiyear initiative created to enhance and expand nursing-driven projects that care for vulnerable populations. In addition, the state of Michigan is matching the grant with another $600,000, providing the college with a total of $1.2 million in funding.

The funding will be for the MiCAPABLE program, which provides team-based home care and home repair services to help older adults stay in their homes and communities. The college has been piloting the program with funding from the State of Michigan Medicaid Waiver program, which seeks to help older adults avoid nursing home admissions.

MiCAPABLE is based on a successful award-winning program originally launched by Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. It will be co-led by Sandra Spoelstra, an assistant professor in MSU's College of Nursing and Sarah Szanton from the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing.

The funding allows the team to expand the program to three of Michigan’s 20 medicaid waiver sites and will be used to train clinicians and offer MiCAPABLE to 270 patients.

Participants will receive 12 weeks of home visits from a team that includes a registered nurse and an occupational therapist, to ensure that health needs are met, and a handyman, to accommodate the home to the needs of an aging adult. The team’s work might include training to help avoid falls, the installation of bathroom grab bars and other home modifications.

“This program expansion will seamlessly build on our pilot program and is the next step to making MiCAPABLE available to all of the 15,000 lower-income, older adults across the state who are nursing-home eligible yet trying to remain at home,” Spoelstra said.

The foundation’s six-person review committee selected the College of Nursing from more than 260 applications, which were narrowed to 23 finalists. The committee grants awards to programs that demonstrate the greatest likelihood of broad affect and align with improving health, reducing costs and improving the patient and caregiver experience.

"The needs of vulnerable populations often lie beyond the reach of much of the mainstream health care system,” said Ahrin Mishan, executive director of the Hillman Foundation. "This is where nursing comes in. Nursing-driven innovations have a long history of making an enormous impact in these communities and we strive to build on this tradition by bringing effective new models to scale."

Sandra Spoelstra, assistant professor in the College of Nursing. Photo by G.L. Kohuth.

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