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Philadelphia Consortium Projects - 2013

Older Adults

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Teaching Health Care Reform to Seniors

Student Interns:
Teagan Keating, Drexel University School of Public Health
Jennifer Sabo, Drexel University College of Medicine

Academic Preceptors:
Ray Lum, MPhil, MS, Drexel University School of Public Health

Community Preceptor:
Lori Walsh, CARIE, the Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly

The Community Site:
CARIE, the Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly, is dedicated to improving the quality of life of older adults. The organization seeks to accomplish advocacy, education and action through a “case to cause” model of advocacy that promotes equal access to justice and addresses problems and issues on both the individual and systemic levels. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Access to Health Care; Chronic Disease (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases, etc.); Disabilities Conditions; Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Health Communication

The Project:
The BTG student interns’ project at CARIE, the Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly, was to educate seniors on the upcoming changes to Medicare under the Affordable Care Act. They visited more than a dozen senior centers and led insurance-related discussions via an interactive PowerPoint presentation. The interns also assisted CARIE staff with miscellaneous office duties and behind-the-scenes prep work for future presentations and questions regarding the Affordable Care Act and changes to seniors’ health insurance benefits. Jenny remarks, “Participating in the BTG experience has increased my awareness of older individuals and health literacy issues. Working at CARIE has made me more empathetic to the needs and concerns of older adults. The BTG experience has influenced my future career as a physician by opening my eyes to the specific concerns of older adults and the various insurance issues that go along with health care.” Teagan comments, “Interning at CARIE allowed me to dive into learning about Medicare and the Affordable Care Act while also allowing me direct contact with seniors. Giving 4+ presentations per week to vastly different audiences helped me hone my skills at explaining complicated subjects like the closing of the Medicare Part D coverage gap. Learning from and working with my peers in other disciplines will help me in the future by giving me a glimpse into the training and health framework of doctors, social workers and occupational therapists.”

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Staying Happy and Healthy Along Life’s Journey

Student Intern:
Kelly Johnson, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program
Shaun Najarian, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program

Academic Preceptor:
Ronald Allen, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Oliver Bullock, DO, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Ashley Harker, Intercommunity Action, Inc., Journey’s Way
Rebecca Kochman, MSW, Intercommunity Action, Inc., Journey’s Way
Constance Voigt, Intercommunity Action, Inc., Journey’s Way

The Community Site:
Journey’s Way, the aging services department of Intercommunity Action, Inc., offers programs for people aged 55 and over. The Center at Journey’s Way offers social services and lifelong learning, health, fitness, volunteer, recreational and travel programs for independent older adults. The Adult Day Services Center provides older adults who need supervision with an individualized program that includes lunch and snacks, recreation and socialization, and support for family caregivers. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Health Communication; Heart Disease and Stroke; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
At Journey’s Way, the BTG student interns used their skills, talents and interests to create classes, programs and activities pertaining to health, wellness and healthy living, including gardening, movement/exercise, walking and nutrition. The interns presented weekly health seminars on hand washing, foot care, skin care, arthritis, cardiovascular health and oral health. At the Adult Day Services Center, the interns helped distribute produce vouchers for the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. In addition to the opportunity to meet and work with active adults 55 and over, the interns had the chance to work with elders requiring specialized assistance and/or supervision at the Adult Day Services Center, engaging in activities such as singing, music, and arts and crafts. Shaun comments, “This internship experience is helping me to realize what type of medicine I would like to practice as a physician. … For a doctor in training, lessons learned from the participants were truly invaluable as they helped me identify critical aspects of end-of-life care I ought to be more attuned to if I am to promote a better quality of life for my future patients.” Kelly notes, “Interning at Journey’s Way and participating in Bridging the Gaps has been an amazing and priceless learning experience that has drastically changed the way I view the aging population. … This summer has by far surpassed my expectations, and in many ways I believe I have gained more out of this experience than I have given. I have created many meaningful relationships with the participants and staff I worked with that will forever have an impact on my life, who I am as an individual and who I will be as a physician and advocate for my patients.”

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Speak for Me: Reflections on the Health Care Proxy Project at LIFE

Student Interns:
Miriam Lewis, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice
Marni Tuchman, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine

Academic Preceptors:
Zvi D. Gellis, PhD, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy and Practice
Joan I. Gluch, PhD, RDH, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Ingrid Sidorov, MSN, RN, LIFE - A Practice of Penn Nursing

The Community Site:
Living Independently for Elders (LIFE), a clinical practice of Penn Nursing (and a PACE Program in West Philadelphia), provides all-inclusive care for 450 frail, older adults in the community. This comprehensive, interdisciplinary program provides total medical and social care while allowing participants to remain living in their own homes. Services include meals, transportation, physical therapy, social services, family support, recreational therapy, medical treatment and personal care. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Educational Advancement/Literacy; Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Health Communication; Oral Health; Preparedness

The Project:
The BTG student interns’ activities included developing and implementing a project to enable LIFE members to complete health care proxy forms. A health care proxy, also known as a medical power of attorney, is the person designated to make medical decisions should the patient no longer be capable. As part of the project, the interns researched what forms were available, how to determine cognitive capacity, and how to effectively discuss the sensitive topic of end-of-life care. By the end of the summer the interns had completed forms with more than 30 LIFE members and collaborated with the intake and social work staff so they could continue this project with the remaining eligible members after the student interns left. For Mimi, this summer was a peek into the sometimes frustrating and confusing world of legal protections and bureaucracy. She says, “I quickly discovered that in order to help the seniors understand how to read the health care proxy form, I needed to understand everything about the system and the form. … More than anything, I felt that Marni and I were functioning as advocates for these seniors. Having a health care proxy protects them against procedures they do not want and empowers them to talk with loved ones about their wishes.” Marni reflects, “I feel so grateful I was able to take part in this experience. At first I was timid to broach such sensitive topics with the elderly members, but I soon learned how much I can both give and gain from learning about these members’ lives. … This opportunity also taught me how to communicate effectively with the geriatric population, which will be so valuable to my ability to treat patients as a dentist.”

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Aging Well at Lutheran Settlement House

Student Interns:
Ann Marie Mantey, Temple University, College of Health Professions and Social Work, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Occupational Therapy Program
Sean Young, Temple University, School of Pharmacy

Academic Preceptor:
Dianne Butera, MSW, Temple University, School of Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Jesse Bilger, Lutheran Settlement House, Senior Center
Mark McAndrew, Lutheran Settlement House, Senior Center

The Community Site:
The Lutheran Settlement House Senior Center supports vital, healthy aging and cultivates community connections for older adults in Philadelphia, while encouraging them to take an active role in leading a self-determined life. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Chronic Disease (Diabetes); Heart Disease and Stroke; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness; Vision and Hearing

The Project:
The BTG student interns provided a health promotion and education program for the seniors at Lutheran Settlement House. Using Healthy People 2020 as a guide, the interns addressed the seniors’ health questions and concerns. Most days consisted of presentations on a health topic followed by games and/or activities. The interns were also available at any time of the day to interact with the seniors and answer health-related questions. The interns got to know many of the seniors on a personal level and heard about the experiences that influenced their lives. Annie participated in the weekly women’s group, and Sean played billiards with the men’s group. The interns went on community outings with the seniors. They also worked with five teenage interns from the Teens 4 Good program in promoting intergenerational collaboration in the community garden and the senior center. Sean notes, “Working with the seniors was a rewarding experience through and through. They taught me lessons that I could never have learned in a classroom. This experience has given me confidence that I can work in an environment that I was not necessarily used to.” Annie states, “I loved working with the seniors and Teens 4 Good at Lutheran Settlement House this summer. It was a great opportunity to learn how to assess the needs of the seniors and create presentations that were relevant to their personal health. I was touched by their warmth and hospitality … and I will treasure the connections that we made during our time there.”

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Philadelphia Senior Center: The Original Social Network

Student Interns:
Brittany Jemmoua, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson School of Health Professions, Occupational Therapy
Maryalice Wolfe, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College

Academic Preceptors:
Rickie Brawer, PhD, MPH, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College
Caryn Johnson, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson School of Health Professions, Occupational Therapy
James Plumb, MD, MPH, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson Medical College

Community Preceptors:
Mary Ellen Bolden, Philadelphia Senior Center, South Broad Street Branch
Julie Nelson, Philadelphia Senior Center, South Broad Street Branch

The Community Site:
The Services on Site program of the Philadelphia Senior Center’s Independence Promotion Project provides social service support to seniors living in geriatric residential facilities. The community sites include Anthony Wayne Senior Housing, Scottish Rite Tower, Scottish Rite House and 801 Locust Senior Housing. Philadelphia Senior Center (PSC) South Broad Street Branch, located in Center City, provides recreation, group meals, health and wellness education, and other supportive services each year for more than 5,000 adults aged 55 and older. The center offers a variety of activities including art classes, poetry workshops, line dancing, tai chi, drama, walking clubs, a chorus and health support groups. PSC is a proud member of the NewCourtland Network.

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:

Access to Health Care; Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Heart Disease and Stroke; Injury and Violence Prevention; Mental Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
The BTG student interns worked on a variety of health-related projects at the Philadelphia Senior Center (PSC) and at nearby senior residential sites. At the residential sites, the interns partnered to provide weekly workshops covering a variety of topics, such as heart and joint health, mental health and senior safety. These workshops included presentation of factual information, scenarios, each-one-teach-one learning activities, worksheets and take-home handouts. At PSC, both interns helped advertise events by sending out mailings, creating posters and making phone calls to members of the Center. In addition to the weekly health-related workshops the interns handled the federal vegetable voucher program, including distributing vouchers and materials to residential sites, administrating vouchers and materials at PSC, and corroborating with residential sites to ensure accurate handling of documents upon program completion. Brittany remarks, “PSC facilitates health, well-being, and improves quality of life as it strives to meet the diverse needs of this diverse population within a supportive environment of stimulating activities and accessible resources. The seniors were extremely personable and loved to share stories. Interacting with the seniors and hearing about their insurance and financial concerns highlighted the importance of maintaining/improving programs that provide assistance with these matters. My experience with these seniors reinforced my interest in working with this population as an occupational therapist.” Maryalice shares, “This experience has given me an opportunity to explore the landscape of senior living in Philadelphia. My interactions with seniors at the variety of sites we visited helped me to better understand the challenges facing aging adults in an urban environment. I believe this experience will make me a better physician because it has given me a richer understanding how to respect the autonomy of geriatric patients while offering support.”

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Philadelphia Senior Center, Tioga Branch

Student Interns:
Kim Kreielsheimer, Temple University, College of Health Professions and Social Work, Occupational Therapy Program
Jacob Leigh, Temple University, School of Podiatric Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Dianne Butera, MSW, Temple University, School of Medicine

Community Preceptors:
Lenamarie Farally, Philadelphia Senior Center, Tioga Branch

The Community Site:
The mission of the Philadelphia Senior Center, Tioga Branch, is to advance the well-being and personal growth of all people aged 55 and older in the greater Philadelphia area by connecting them to services and resources to help them learn and discover new ways to be actively engaged in living healthy lives. The Tioga Branch has been serving the community for 39 years. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Heart Disease and Stroke; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
The BTG student interns worked with the seniors and staff at the Tioga Center. One of their main responsibilities was to distribute federal vegetable vouchers to qualifying seniors both from the Center and from the community. While distributing the vouchers, the interns distributed the Tioga newsletter and also encouraged seniors from the community to join and participate in the Center’s scheduled activities. They engaged the Center members in biweekly lunch-and-learn talks on relevant health topics and gave longer presentations that included activities focusing on oral health and heart health. The interns arranged for outside presenters to speak to the members on foot care and diabetes as well as on changes to Medicare with the Affordable Care Act. The interns organized an herbal soap-making project in collaboration with the medicinal garden intern team and worked with the seniors to spruce up the patio garden at PSC-Tioga. Kim states, “This summer has been a great experience. Through our one-on-one conversations the seniors have taught me so much about life. … I was inspired by how much the seniors are committed to their different exercise classes and by their desire to learn about healthy lifestyle changes. From working with the seniors, staff and my BTG partner, I believe I have improved my communication skills and my ability to work within a team. My Bridging the Gaps experience will definitely be something I remember throughout my career.” Jacob notes, “The BTG program was a great opportunity. … I learned more about seniors and their resilience from observing members participating in different activities and listening to their stories. No matter what kind of challenges they have, they are very optimistic and motivated, and eager to learn more about health-related topics and current technologies. Also, it was a great experience to be a part of interdisciplinary team and to work with staff and seniors as a team. BTG summer internship taught me about what community really means. … This experience will certainly be implemented into my career.”

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Aging in Place: Instrumental Activities for the Body, Mind and Spirit

Student Intern:
Esther Kim, Drexel University College of Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Raymond K. Lum, MPhil, MS, Drexel University School of Public Health

Community Preceptors:
Roberta Balsam, MA, Unitarian Universalist House Outreach Program

The Community Site:
The The Unitarian Universalist House Outreach Program works within the Northwest Philadelphia community. The primary goal of the Outreach Program is to provide older individuals with resources to assist them in maintaining independent lifestyles in their own residences. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas Adopted From HP2010 and HP2020:
Chronic Disease; Disabilities Conditions; Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Health Communication; Oral Health

The Project:
With the guidance of the social worker at the Unitarian Universalist House Outreach Program, the BTG student intern visited older adults in the Northwest Philadelphia area to provide services and resources that support and maintain independent living. These visits included assisting in medical, financial and legal areas; encouraging physical activity and healthy eating; engaging in activities for mental stimulation; and facilitating inner healing and connection through music. Esther also prepared and presented an oral health seminar specific to older adults at the Mount Airy Church of God in Christ. Her internship included literature research on narrative medicine, which the Outreach Program is interested in exploring and potentially incorporating into their program. Esther notes, “My internship at the Unitarian Universalist House Outreach Program expanded my understanding and compassion for the older adult population. It became clear to me the dedication that is necessary for this population to age well, and the essential and unique roles that each part of the health care system plays in providing and sustaining quality care. I really enjoyed building relationships with the clients and found it remarkable how seemingly simple services can have a profound impact on lives.”

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