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Philadelphia Consortium Projects - 2016

Older Adults

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Educating Older Adults About Medicare’s Preventive Services and Fraud

Student Intern:
Geena Chacko, Drexel University College of Medicine

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

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

The Community Site:
The Center for the Advocacy of the Rights and Interests of the Elderly is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the well-being, rights and autonomy of older adults by educating seniors, advocating for their rights and needs, and taking the necessary action to make a change. The organization serves to promote equal access to justice and works to address issues on both individual and systemic levels. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Access to Health Care; Educational Advancement/Literacy; Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Health Communication; Nutrition and Weight Status

The Project:
Through CARIE, the Bridging the Gaps student intern performed educational outreach presentations at various senior centers and senior residential communities in North, South and West Philadelphia. The 40- to 45-minute presentations focused on educating low-income seniors about two main topics: preventive services offered under Medicare and Medicare fraud. The presentations discussed in depth the various preventive services that Medicare covers, such as screening tests, vaccinations and counseling sessions. Because preventive services are relatively new, this area poses a high risk for fraud and abuse, so seniors were also educated about the Senior Medicare Patrol and its philosophy of “protect, detect and report.” The intern also spent time researching and preparing outreach presentations on two other Medicare programs: the DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program and the Fraud Prevention System.

Personal Statement:
Geena said, “Interning at CARIE was an eye-opening experience. As a medical student it was refreshing to step out of the realm of the hard sciences and see health care through the eyes of social workers and older adults. Going in, I had a very limited understanding of Medicare and Medicare fraud. … It was shocking to learn that less than 50% of Americans use the free preventative services available to them. There are so many factors at play when it comes to accessing health care, and the system is even more complicated for older adults. The older population is especially vulnerable to being taken advantage of, and they desperately need health care providers that will support and advocate for their rights.”

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Journey’s Way — Resources and Programs for Seniors

Student Interns:
Mohammed Junaid Alam, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program
John Cugini, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program

Academic Preceptor:
Pat Lannutti, DO, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptors:
Rebecca Kochman, MSW, Journey’s Way
Mark Weber, BS, Journey’s Way

The Community Site:
Journey’s Way, the aging services department of Intercommunity Action, Inc., offers a wide array of programs and resources for people aged 55 and over to enrich their lives in their communities and support them through life’s challenges. 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 (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Mental Health; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
Journey’s Way provides an incredible variety of services to the community. On the surface, it is an activity center offering fitness classes, creative opportunities and time for socialization. To many of the members it is much more than that. Journey’s Way gives people a place to ask for help in whatever area they need. Counseling services are available for psychological issues, and social workers are available to assist with housing or financial problems. People come to the center to escape the heat, have food prepared for them and get Internet access. These are important services because many of the people are physically or financially unable to obtain these things on their own. Among other things, the Bridging the Gaps interns worked with clients improve knowledge on various topics, including heart health, oral health, cultural differences and computer literacy skills.

Personal Statements:
Mohammed said, “Being allowed to wake up every morning this summer and come to Journey’s Way was truly a privilege. I was able to assist the center in various housekeeping things. We handed out produce vouchers to the elderly population from the local area. But above all, I loved the part where I was able to interact with the elderly population on a day-to-day basis and understand their challenges, their history and above all their dedication to constantly learn and evolve despite facing the issues of declination of health and increase of age.” John said, “My time at Journey’s Way was all about engaging the members in activities that were mentally stimulating. This group of seniors did not want to be occupied; they wanted to be engaged. I spent much of my time in spirited discussions and intense debates over current and past events. From these conversations, I was able to gain an appreciation for the knowledge one can gain over a lifetime, and observe how well intellect can be preserved at older ages.”

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Summer With the Seniors

Student Interns:
Samoela Papa, Temple University, School of Pharmacy
Karen Renee Sabater, Temple University, College of Public Health, Occupational Therapy Program

Academic Preceptor:
Tariem A. Burroughs, MSODL, MSEdEE, Temple University, Lewis Katz School of Medicine

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

The Community Site:
Lutheran Settlement House is a bustling place for seniors in the community to participate in various programs, such as bingo, food pantry, arts and crafts, and much more. LSH provides resources for all who come in, whether they need food, a place to connect with others or education. Resources are also available for students and others, including career support, domestic violence support and GED prep. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Chronic Disease (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases, etc.); Disabilities Conditions; Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Nutrition and Weight Status; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns achieved different goals every week at the Lutheran Settlement House. The interns were involved in the distribution and processing of food vouchers for seniors so that they could obtain healthy food, such as fruit and vegetables at no cost. On “Nutrition Thursdays” (the days when vouchers were available) the interns offered nutrition workshops. They also organized activities such as volleyball and bingo as a way to provide information about various health topics, including Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, nutrition and arthritis.

Personal Statements:
Karen said, “Lutheran Settlement House has enlightened me of the aging community and how all the health professions play a crucial role for the best quality of life. I had received the gift of their wisdom and learned so many ways to engage with older adults that will truly help in my career. Lutheran has provided us the flexibility to create our own programs and interventions with the seniors, which is great practice before I go out into the field of occupational therapy. I definitely have more insight to the aging population and will take this with me as I go into my profession.” Samoela said, “When I first started at Lutheran Settlement House I was a bit nervous because I had never worked with seniors before. However, they were so welcoming and cooperative as the weeks went by. I was curious and eager to become part of their world and understand their points of view, which were different from mine. I gained so much knowledge and perspective from working with them, and I can say I changed and grew that much more. This made me feel that my work in the future as a professional is not only technical but also interactive and reaching for a deeper level of understanding, and helping an individual in many different ways. I also am appreciative of this opportunity and the seniors’ warmth, cooperation and gratitude, because at the end of the day it is what gives my work a much bigger meaning.”

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Caring for Caregivers: Providing Support to Family Members

Student Interns:
Roopali Kulkarni, University of Pennsylvania, School of Dental Medicine
Deirdre MacFarlane, University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy & Practice

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

Community Preceptors:
Gwen Lech, MSN, CRNP, Mercy LIFE – West Philadelphia

The Community Site:
Mercy LIFE – West Philadelphia (a member of Trinity Health PACE) is a nationally recognized Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) providing comprehensive medical, health, recreational and social services, designed specifically for each person, to promote independence at home. PACE has a 30-year track record of successfully helping seniors remain at home while receiving medical and social services to help them live independently. The program serves seniors in West Philadelphia and three areas in Delaware County with a range of health conditions that affect their daily lives, such as chronic illness, memory loss, difficulty with personal care such as bathing and dressing, and more. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Educational Advancement/Literacy; Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Health Communication; Preparedness

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns at Mercy LIFE – West Philadelphia implemented a community needs assessment by developing a telephone survey of members’ primary family caregivers. The results, presented to the Mercy LIFE team, indicated a need for more communication, updates and resources. From the data analysis, the interns created a medical and resource guide, which was introduced at the monthly caregivers support group to help primary family caregivers better meet the needs of the population at Mercy LIFE. Among other things, the guide provides information on conditions and terminology, health care decisions with aging, levels of care and resources in the Philadelphia area.

Personal Statements:
Deirdre said, “I learned a great deal this summer, while working at the Mercy LIFE center, about the level of care older people need and also the level of dignity that they deserve. Mercy LIFE’s interdisciplinary and all-inclusive health care model allows seniors to remain in their homes with dignity and gives them the assistance they need to live well. I was inspired by the people that work there and their positivity and dedication to keeping seniors in their homes, where they wished to be, and inspired by the members themselves. Their resilience despite many hardships, positivity, humor and wisdom left me looking forward to hearing more stories about their lives and sharing more time with them. This summer really solidified for me that I am meant to work with this population in the future.” Roopali said, “My experience at Mercy LIFE can be summed up by one word: inspiring. Although I have had previous opportunities involving work with a geriatric population, Mercy LIFE’s PACE model allows members of the community to remain as independent as possible, which inspires me to continue working with this population and to join an interdisciplinary team of professionals to provide the best possible care. It was a pleasure getting to know many of the members at the LIFE center. … The health care that is provided here reminds me of why I decided to become a dentist in the first place; my dream to make people smile came true in many ways this summer.”

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Improving Health by Improving Health Literacy in Older Adults

Student Interns:
Peter Bross, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College
Janelle Rosales, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson College of Health Professions

Academic Preceptors:
Maria Hervada-Page, MSS, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College
Caryn Johnson, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA, Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson College of Health Professions, Department of Occupational Therapy

Community Preceptor:
Mary Ellen Bolden, BSW, Philadelphia Senior Center

The Community Site:
The Philadelphia Senior Center on the Avenue of the Arts, a proud member of the NewCourtland Network, serves 200 seniors aged 55 or older per day, providing a wide range of services including meals, recreation/fitness, health, education, counseling, volunteer programs and referral programs. Located in Center City, the center offers a variety of activities including Bible study groups, tea time, chair exercises, Zumba, tap dance, line dance, art classes and health support groups. PSC values respect, innovation, excellence, diversity, stewardship, education and tradition to advance well-being and personal growth in older adults. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Chronic Disease (Arthritis, Kidney Health, Osteoporosis), Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Heart Disease and Stroke; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health

The Project:
The primary focus of the Bridging the Gaps student interns at the Philadelphia Senior Center on the Avenue of the Arts was increasing health education and literacy in seniors. At the beginning of the summer, they created a survey to gauge the seniors’ interest in various health topics. The survey results served as a guide for the interns’ weekly health talks and interactive activities, which covered osteoarthritis, kidney health, nutrition, oral health, stroke, heart health, osteoporosis and fall prevention. When a heat advisory warning was issued, the interns offered seniors tips to beat the heat and provided water bottles to keep them hydrated throughout the day. The interns also ran several smaller events at the center, including coffeehouse discussions, adult coloring sessions, crossword puzzle handouts, creating a “Heart Smart” poster, cleaning up the community garden and a 4th of July celebration. Also, the interns aided the PSC staff in organizing nutritional menus and conducting federally mandated nutritional surveys of 1,500 seniors. In addition, the interns were responsible for distributing more than $7,000 worth of veggie vouchers for the state-run Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, which provides $20 in free Pennsylvania-grown fruits and vegetables for eligible seniors from Philadelphia at farmers markets throughout the city.

Personal Statements:
Janelle said, “My summer at the Philadelphia Senior Center has been an invaluable and humbling experience. Each senior has an eye-opening story to tell or an enriching lesson to learn, if you lend them your ear. I am truly amazed how much love, enthusiasm, appreciation and care each senior has for each other and for their own health. As a future occupational therapist, I hope to carry with me the compassion, empathy and care for all my patients.” Peter said, “While working at the Philadelphia Senior Center, I became well acquainted with several senior center members who had unique stories and experiences to share with me. The past seven weeks truly have been a rewarding experience for me after my first year of medical school, as it allowed for me gain a better understanding of the community of Philadelphia as well as to hone my skills in active listening and understanding. I hope to use this experience from Bridging the Gaps to continue to strengthen my skills as a future medical professional.”

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Healthy Living With Seniors!

Student Interns:
Meghan O’Hara, Temple University, College of Public Heath
Brittani Tran, Temple University, School of Pharmacy

Academic Preceptor:
Jacquee K. Lukawski, Temple University, Lewis Katz School of Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Jacquelyn S. Wyley, Allegheny Senior Center

The Community Site:
The Allegheny Branch of the Philadelphia Senior Center is a brand-new facility that serves participants from the Lehigh, Tioga and Spring Garden centers. The center includes classes focused on keeping the seniors of North Philadelphia active, including ceramics, chair yoga, jewelry making, line dancing and Bible study. Additionally, the center provides hot and cold lunches Monday through Friday. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Chronic Disease (Diabetes, Kidney Disease); Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
During a seven-week internship at the Philadelphia Senior Center Allegheny Branch, the Bridging the Gaps student interns offered health-related presentations to the seniors. Topics included cardiovascular health, dental care, healthy nutrition, arthritis exercises, and diabetes and renal management. Students also led many do-it-yourself projects, such as making soap, ice cream and stress balls. Over the course of the internship, the students had the opportunity not only to teach healthy aging, but also to learn about the unique personalities of every senior who comes to the center.

Personal Statements:
Brittani said, “Never would I have imagined how much fun it would be to interact with a group of wonderful people who have amazing stories and skills to share. Sometimes as a pharmacy student, I thought I could only contribute my knowledge on medications, but BTG proved otherwise. Working alongside Meghan, who is an occupational therapist student, we were able to develop a variety of health-related topics that were both informational and interactive. This experience has definitely opened my eyes to the limitless opportunities working in an interprofessional health program that Bridging the Gaps has to offer.” Meghan said, “I couldn’t have imagined feeling so connected to a group of people in just seven weeks, but I will truly miss it and all of the people I worked with. As an occupational therapy student, I learn to view health from a holistic mind-set, but in my time as a BTG intern at the Allegheny senior center, I got to see firsthand how many things can influence one’s health. For as much as I educated others, I learned just as much from my community preceptor [and] my BTG partner Brittani. … I feel very grateful for this Bridging the Gaps.”

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Beating the Heat and Learning About Health

Student Interns:
Morgan Brockman, Temple University, College of Public Health, Occupational Therapy Program
Christina Lam, Temple University, College of Public Health, Occupational Therapy Program

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

Community Preceptors:
Nancy Rothman, EdD, RN, Temple Health Connection

The Community Site:
Temple Health Connection is a community-based health care facility that provides a variety of community/public health services to children, teens and adults in North Philadelphia. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Environmental Health; Heart Disease and Stroke; Mental Health; Oral Health

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns developed and began implementation of a heatstroke prevention program at Temple Health Connection. The program’s purpose was to engage community members in conversations about heat exhaustion and heatstroke, as well as to educate on the prevention of heat-related illness. The students created materials that included handouts, flyers, informational session outlines and a list of community cooling centers. The students also ran weekly groups with the senior residents at the Gray Manor senior living facility. They provided health education while engaging people in recreational activities such as bingo, board games and crafts. Topics included cardiovascular health, dental health, relaxation, stress reduction and heatstroke prevention.

Personal Statements:
Morgan said, “Through BTG, I have been able to broaden my knowledge about the North Philadelphia community and all the potential it holds. I have had the opportunity to interact with the community members and learn from them. I will take these interactions with me into my professional experiences and remember the faces that taught me about perseverance, togetherness and resiliency.” Christina said, “BTG provided me with a unique experience that expanded my perspective on both health and the community. While working with Temple Health Connection, I learned how to deliver health education in a way that is efficient and effective while remaining flexible and open in practice. Moreover, I learned how to truly look at a person as a whole by considering how relationships and the environment affect their health and well-being. It was wonderful getting to know the community members of North Philadelphia who were warm, accepting, willing to learn and willing to share their stories. I am grateful for the lessons from this summer that I will carry throughout my future professional career.”

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Aging: The Years Teach Much

Student Intern:
Micah Richardson, Drexel University College of Medicine

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

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

The Community Site:
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 (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Chronic Disease (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases, etc.); Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Nutrition and Weight Status; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student intern at Unitarian Universalist House Outreach Program worked to assist older adults living independently in Northwest Philadelphia by providing services and access to resources. Often, this was accomplished through home visits. While visiting, the intern helped clients in a variety of ways, including walking, organizing paperwork, accompanying them to dental appointments, delivering Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program vouchers, and offering emotional support. The intern also performed an oral health presentation for residents of Phillip Murray House. Finally, the intern wrote articles to be featured in the Maple Village Newsletter and reviewed the benefits of community blood pressure screenings for older adults managing hypertension.

Personal Statement:
Micah said, “It was a true privilege to be a Bridging the Gaps intern at UUH Outreach Program this summer. The staff and seminars taught me a great deal about many topics, including the importance of trauma-informed care, the need for cultural humility and the value of striving to maintain dignity for all at every point in life. Moreover, I cherished my interactions with older adults in the community. While I observed various health issues that often accompany aging and learned about resources to alleviate such challenges, I was continually impressed by the kindness, strength and wisdom that clients shared with me. As Ralph Waldo Emerson put it, ‘The years teach much which the days never knew.’”

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