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Philadelphia Consortium Projects - 2017

Older Adults

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Bridging the Service Gaps for Elderly Adults in Philadelphia

Student Interns:
Kathryn Lodwick, Drexel University, College of Nursing and Health Professions, Creative Arts in Therapy
Kathleen Nelson, Drexel University College of Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Elissa Goldberg, MSS, LSW, Drexel University College of Medicine

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 (CARIE) 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 action to bring about change in our society. The organization serves to promote equal access to justice and works to address individuals’ needs and larger issues related to local, federal and national policy. Within CARIE are several programs, including Providing Advocacy to Victimized Elderly (PAVE), Senior Medicare Patrol, Long-Term Care Ombudsman and CARIE LINE (an information hotline). View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Access to Health Care; Disabilities Conditions; Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Injury and Violence Prevention; Mental Health

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns worked with specific programs within CARIE while getting a broad exposure to the range of projects and programs at the organization. Kathryn specifically worked closely with the Providing Advocacy for Victimized Elderly (PAVE) program. She interviewed staff and developed a protocol for taking suicidal and homicidal calls from elderly victims in crisis, and also compiled a literature review regarding the prevalence of domestic violence and intimate partner violence among the elderly in Philadelphia. She attended court hearings, a Medicare education presentation, a PEER Ombudsman visit to a long-term care facility, and a presentation on the effects of aging on the brain at a conference. Kathleen mainly worked with a newly grant-funded program investigating the relationship between aging and homelessness in Pennsylvania. She contributed to this new project by performing literature searches on information related to homeless hospice services, the effectiveness of rapid rehousing interventions, and eviction prevention techniques to keep older adults in their homes during times of financial instability. She also assisted with several informational presentations given by CARIE representatives in the community.

Personal Statements:
Kathryn said, “I truly valued my experience at CARIE due to the professional applicability of the knowledge I gained. By working with the PAVE program, I learned about important statistics and concerns regarding victimized elderly, a population I am interested in working with in the future. I was also able to gain understanding of the long-term physical and psychological effects of domestic violence. By being able to closely work with a meaningful group, I experienced the positive psychological benefits of those working in the social justice, advocacy and helping field.” Kathleen said, “I really valued my experience at CARIE because of the need to understand the experiences of the elderly for the practice of medicine. I’m interested in specializing in HIV primary care, family medicine or psychiatry, three fields in which many of the patients are older adults. I’m hoping to take what I learned at CARIE into my medical practice to holistically address the needs of elderly patients and to successfully advocate for better services for older members of our society.”

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Journey’s Way: Reaching Out to the Elderly

Student Interns:
Michael Gerges, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program
Amy Lam, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program

Academic Preceptors:
Denise Curran, MS, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Pat A. 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. 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; Oral Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
Each week, the Bridging the Gaps student interns gave a talk about an important health issue, such as Parkinson’s disease and oral health, at Journey’s Way. The interns also worked on many daily activities, such as distributing $20 produce vouchers from 2 to 4 p.m. to help eligible seniors buy groceries. Other activities included distributing and tallying surveys (important to keep center funding) and Android training to help seniors with any technical challenges. The interns also performed occasional activities, such as housekeeping and inventory to help organize the center.

Personal Statements:
Michael said, “As a future physician, it is so important to reach for the society to not just give back but to learn as well. I was so glad to get that learning experience in Journey’s Way outside of my classroom. It made me grow more by listening to the life experiences of the seniors at that center. Helping and impacting others using the tools I have was so personally rewarding.” Amy said, “My internship at Journey’s Way deepened my understanding of how biological health is not the only aspect of health, and that, in fact, a person’s environment and other social determinants of health have a huge role in overall well-being. I often took chances to engage seniors in conversation so I could learn more about them and their stories. I appreciate the opportunity to learn more about our patients’ lives outside the doctor’s office and to explore other agencies and resources patients can look for in their communities. From participating in these activities, I had a better understanding of the perspective of older adults and learned about some of the challenges they face on a day-to-day basis.”

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Lutheran Settlement House, A Summer of Learning

Student Interns:
Wesley Schettler, Temple University, Lewis Katz School of Medicine
Tiffany Thomas, Temple University, College of Public Health

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

Community Preceptor:
Mark McAndrew, Senior Services Program Director, Lutheran Settlement House

The Community Site:
The Lutheran Settlement House (LSH), located in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia, was established in 1902 as a nonprofit, community-based organization. LSH provides domestic violence services, community education/employment programs, anti-hunger efforts, and homeless and senior services. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Chronic Disease (Diabetes); Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Heart Disease and Stroke; Nutrition and Weight Status; Responsible Sexual Behavior

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns spent time developing new programming as well as supplementing existing programming at Lutheran Settlement House (LSH). One intern gave health talks on a wide range of topics that concern the senior population, including diabetes, arthritis, heart health and stroke, and nutritional labels. The other intern started a book club, invited a speaker about sexual health and helped the on-site social worker with many duties. The interns also assisted with food distribution at the LSH community pantry and provided additional socialization opportunities at activities, including line dancing, men’s group, cooking class and craft class.

Personal Statements:
Wesley said, “My time at Lutheran Settlement House has been an amazingly rewarding experience. I spent my time creating and presenting health talks relevant to the senior population, jumping on board some ongoing activities and listening to stories while talking with many members of the senior center. This is my first time being truly embedded in a community site that provided me with real insight into how people are living. Working with a senior population also allowed me to think about where my career is headed in the future. My interest in geriatric care has always been present, but it has grown so much over this relatively short work period. I really enjoy connecting with seniors and hearing their concerns about health care and the world around them.” Tiffany said, “The time I have spent with the seniors at Lutheran Settlement House has been wonderful. I spent much of my time getting to know the members and learning what they wanted/needed to see at the center. I have prior experience working in skilled nursing facilities that catered mostly to the elderly population, so I was able to relate well to the members. Helping to run the food pantry showed me the great need there is in this area for nutrition support. I will miss the members probably about as much as they will miss us when we leave.”

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Health and Nutrition Among Philadelphia Seniors

Student Interns:
Hannah Garrigan, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College
Thomas Nailor, Bryn Mawr College, Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research

Academic Preceptor:
Maria Hervada-Page, MSS, Thomas Jefferson University, Sidney Kimmel Medical College

Community Preceptors:
Mary Ellen Bolden, BSW, Philadelphia Senior Center
Lourdes Perez Lopez, BSW, Philadelphia Senior Center
Julie Nelson, BS, Philadelphia Senior Center

The Community Site:
The Philadelphia Senior Center (PSC) 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 low-cost/free 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, line dance, art classes, language classes, computer access/instruction and health support groups. The PSC provides space for seniors to play cards/games, read, make music and spend time together. PSC Avenue of the Arts also includes the Coffee Cup Branch, which provides services and opportunities specifically in Mandarin and Cantonese (oral and written). 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 (Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Respiratory Diseases, etc.); 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 senior nutrition and well-being. During the seven-week internship, the students administered Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program vouchers daily and performed nutritional risk assessments on eligible members. In addition, the interns made nutritional and oral health educational presentations, created a poster for the Heart Smart event and helped organize the American Red Cross blood drive at the Center. They also had opportunities to shadow social workers at other NewCourtland sites. In addition to addressing the daily needs of the organization, engaging in conversation and forming relationships with the seniors and staff was of pivotal importance to the internship.

Personal Statements:
Hannah said, “Through friendships with the senior members and staff, I was able to expand my world view and learn firsthand about the social barriers faced by older adults. I noticed that the most resilient seniors recognize the essential role humor, socialization and education play in mediating the pain and loss that the aging population experiences. It is through organizations like the Philadelphia Senior Center that older adults are able to access resources that improve their quality of life. I truly believe that I will be a more caring, empathetic physician because of my experiences at Bridging the Gaps.” Tom said, “Having never worked with older adults/seniors before, I came to the Philadelphia Senior Center primarily to listen and learn from the members and staff here. In forming relationships, I saw the diversity of challenges that seniors face, including … difficulty with self-care and caring for loved ones, living on a fixed income, access to resources and finding purpose. However, I was far more struck by the strength and resilience of many seniors, especially here at PSC—they are a vibrant and diverse group of people who engage in lifelong learning and build community in an inspiring way. I met seniors who have taught themselves guitar, are learning Spanish or have found a new passion for dance even late in life, thanks to the hard work of staff at the Philadelphia Senior Center, providing opportunities and encouragement. My experience with Bridging the Gaps has encouraged me to explore geriatric social work as a career in the future, and to consider what I can do to support individuals and organizations working with seniors as well as what I can do to support seniors personally.”

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Music Speaks: The Impact of Music Therapy on the Elderly

Student Interns:
Michael Enea, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program
Yihui (Connie) Jiang, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Program

Academic Preceptors:
Denise Curran, MS, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Pat A. Lannutti, DO, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Community Preceptor:
Seth Laucks, MA, MT-BC, Music Therapy Program

The Community Site:
St. Ignatius Nursing Home and Rehab Center is a nonprofit Catholic health care ministry of the Felician Franciscan Sisters. Located in West Philadelphia, St. Ignatius is a 170-bed facility that provides long-term care and rehabilitation services. In addition, the nursing home offers resident activities, including music therapy, and in-house restaurant-style dining. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Chronic Disease; Disability and Health; Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Mental Health; Vision and Hearing

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns worked alongside music therapist Seth Laucks to provide the residents with daily music sessions. The sessions focused on mental well-being, residents’ reflections on the past and social engagement—all through music. The interns were also involved in an iPod program for some of the residents. In addition, the interns assisted staff with everyday activities, including serving lunch and transporting residents throughout the building.

Personal Statements:
Michael said, “My time at St. Ignatius has taught me patience, compassion and empathy. The direct patient contact has allowed me to make personal connections to the residents. My future career will be shaped by this experience, as I’ve become sensitized to the demented and disabled and have a deeper understanding of what their daily lives involve.” Connie said, “Volunteering at St. Ignatius has been an educational and deeply emotional experience for me. It was the first time that I had interacted long-term with the elderly population, especially many of those who are mentally and physically disabled. Getting to know the residents, helping out with lunch every day and participating in music therapy groups has truly made me appreciate the tremendous amount of work that is required to care for the elderly in a wholesome and respectful way. There’s nothing quite like seeing a resident who is unable to communicate verbally start to tap their feet as the music begins to play. I am thankful I had the opportunity to be at St. Ignatius Nursing Home and Rehab Center this summer, and I hope that I impacted some residents’ lives the way they have impacted mine.”

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The Grass Is Greener! A Change in Perspective on Aging

Student Interns:
Adetola Adeosun, Temple University, Occupational Therapy
Deirdre Kaan, Temple University, School of Pharmacy

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

Community Preceptor:
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; Health Communication; Heart Disease and Stroke; Maternal, Infant and Child Health; Nutrition and Weight Status

The Project:
Temple Health Connection is a nurse-managed organization that focuses on community health in the North Philly area. Temple Health Connection’s efforts this summer were focused in large part on its Safe and Healthy Homes Program, which aims to address child safety and asthma concerns in homes across the area. The Bridging the Gaps student interns assisted with community health activities at various clinics, such as a mammography van at Rising Sun Health Center. They also had the opportunity engage in health education, distributing water bottles while educating community members about the risk of heat stroke, heat-related illnesses and prevention. Last, the interns were fortunate enough to serve as proxies at a Climate Change and Health Advisory Board meeting, which served as a short look into what goes into community health in the city of Philadelphia.

Personal Statements:
Adetola said, “Participating in Bridging the Gaps this summer has definitely altered my thought processes when it comes to health care and how it affects disadvantaged populations. Listening to various guest speakers on Wednesdays and being active in the North Philly community with Temple Health Connection pushed me to think outside the box in terms of access to care, overall perception, and prioritization of personal health and community wellness. As a future occupational therapist, now I feel more equipped to be aware of my clients’ backgrounds and take them into consideration more thoroughly when it comes to my treatment practices and interventions.” Deirdre said, “Becoming a Bridging the Gaps intern has opened my eyes to holistic patient treatment and consideration. Before this experience, I failed to consider my patient’s socioeconomic status when thinking about their health. Between the lectures and working directly in the community, Bridging the Gaps has given me the insight to try to understand health issues instead of judging them. As a pharmacy student and intern, this experience has helped me better help patients in the community as they struggle with insurance, high co-pays and other issues beyond their control.”

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The Grass Is Greener! A Change in Perspective on Aging

Student Interns:
Laura Columbus, Drexel University College of Medicine
Jacob Ferguson, Drexel University College of Medicine

Academic Preceptor:
Brent Simmons, MD, Drexel University College of Medicine

Community Preceptors:
Roberta Balsam, MA, Unitarian Universalist House Outreach Program
Mary J. Fallon, MA, NHA, Unitarian Universalist House Outreach Program

The Community Site:
Unitarian Universalist House (UUH) Outreach helps older adults in Northwest Philadelphia remain independent in their own homes. Their professional staff takes the time to fully understand the older person’s situation and concerns, and responds with tailored information and access to resources in the community. UUH Outreach’s key to success is active collaboration with other services organizations, which expedites getting older adults the support they need. View Community Partner Web Site

BTG Focus Areas (adapted from Healthy People 2010 and 2020):
Access to Health Care; Disabilities Conditions; Elder Health and Senior Quality of Life; Environmental Health; Physical Activity and Fitness

The Project:
The Bridging the Gaps student interns completed a variety of tasks at Unitarian Universalist House Outreach Program. The first two weeks consisted mainly of attaining produce vouchers for older adults and measuring rooms for free air conditioning unit installation through a heat relief program. As the project progressed, the interns were assigned their own clients and began to build one-on-one relationships with them, helping them move into or out of a home, escorting them to doctor’s appointments, helping them obtain a new pair of shoes, writing an article about a client’s life experiences, wrapping a client’s legs to prevent swelling, running errands for less mobile clients, linking clients with information they did not know how to obtain, and talking with and getting to know clients. The interns gave an oral health presentation and handed out oral health supplies to Interfaith House, a local senior facility. They also wrote articles for the Maple Village Apartments monthly newsletter.

Personal Statements:
Laura said, “I spent much of this summer doing home visits for older adult clients. It allowed me to ‘look behind the curtain’ and see how a person is in their home environment. I gained a deeper understanding of the needs of older adults. Regardless of the task they wanted help completing, we would always be talking. They would tell me about their lives and offer wisdom for both my personal and professional life. I feel very blessed to have had this opportunity to work with the older adult population.” Jacob said, “As our time here at UUH Outreach comes to a close, I can honestly say that I got more from this experience than I anticipated. I knew I would be advocating for and helping older adults, but I didn’t realize how much I’d get in return: immense gratitude, stories, laughter, snacks and advice. I was excited when I woke up for work, and every day brought something new or random. UUH Outreach is an amazing organization, and I give my respect to Mary, Roberta and Erika.”

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