Aging, Disability, and Long-Term Care
Philip Sloane, M.D., PhD.
Sheryl Zimmerman, PhD.
The rapid growth of the nation's older population has brought about an increasing awareness of the special health service needs of older adults. There are significant demands on the families, lay persons and professionals who deliver health services to this population. The program emphasizes factors that affect functional status and promote self-care, independent living and quality of life among older adults. In addition, the program embraces a concern for the extent, quality and availability of long-term care services for persons of any age and for programs that address the special needs of the disabled.
A Manual for Community-Based Participatory Research: Using Research to Improve Practice and Inform Policy in Assisted Living :
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FALLS CHURCH, Virginia - The Center for Excellence in Assisted Living (CEAL) and the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research/University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) are announcing publication of a first-of-its-kind manual to improving practices and informing policies in assisted living communities through the use of a collaborative method of research – community-based participatory research (CBPR). The manual can be downloaded from the CEAL website homepage at www.theceal.org.
CEAL, a consortium of 11 national organizations representing provider and consumer interests in assisted living, partnered with UNC and formed the CEAL-UNC Collaborative to study medication administration in assisted living using the CBPR method and develop a manual to help others learn about this important applied research methodology.
The two-year project (2006 – 2008) was funded by the U.S. Agency for Health Care Research and Quality. Community-based participatory research is a social science research method whereby researchers work as full partners with community members in the area being studied. This collaborative form of research has led to more comprehensive, nuanced and accurate findings that are more easily used and replicated by others in the study field. Until this study, the technique had rarely been used in the area of senior living or aging.
“The information contained in the manual is especially important for the assisted living and other long-term care professions to learn about as they can initiate CBPR projects on areas to better guide their practices.’’ said Dave Kyllo, Chair of CEAL.
The manual explains the principles and methods of community-based participatory research with actual examples from the medication management research. Because community-based participatory research gives community members equal voice, power and decision-making in all
aspects of the project, the results tend to be more relevant and on point and make it easier to incorporate evidence-based improvements and changes in practices and policies. Dr. Sheryl Zimmerman, a distinguished professor at UNC’s School of Social Work and Co-Director of the Aging Research Program at the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, was the principal investigator on the project.
Assisted living communities provide assistance in the activities of daily life, such as dressing and bathing, to frail seniors in a residential setting. Assisted living communities care for approximately one million residents in the United States and aim to help elders age with dignity, independence and grace and maintain control over their lives in a setting of their own choice.
CEAL, a non-profit collaborative, includes representatives from AARP, Alzheimer’s Association, American Assisted Living Nurses Association, American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, American Seniors Housing Association, Assisted Living Federation of America, Consumer Consortium on Assisted Living, National Center for Assisted Living, NCB Capital Impact, Paralyzed Veterans of America and Pioneer Network.