Revisiting the Teaching Nursing Home Advisory Group Examines Initiative Progress

Members of the Advisory Group discuss the initiative’s progress. Clockwise from upper left: Dr. JoAnne Reifsnyder, Ann Torregrossa, Dr. Alice Bonner, and Dr. Joan Weiss.

The Revisiting the Teaching Nursing Home (RTNH) National and Statewide Advisory Group convened on March 9 for their first meeting of the year, to discuss the activities of initiative partners, recent policy announcements, and Age-Friendly Health Systems Nursing Home Prototyping.

Alice Bonner, PhD, RN, FAAN, chair of the National and Statewide Advisory, welcomed the group. Nancy D. Zionts, MBA, COO and chief program officer of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation and primary investigator of the initiative, provided an overview on the progress made within the initiative since the last National and Statewide Advisory Board meeting.

JoAnne Reifsnyder, PhD, MSN, MBA, professor of health services leadership and management at the University of Maryland School of Nursing, and Ann Kolanowski, PhD, RN, FAAN, professor emerita of nursing and professor emerita of psychiatry at the Penn State Hershey College of Medicine, chaired the Measurement Taskforce, which established last year the measures that the initiative participants began to track. Howard Degenholtz, PhD, professor of health policy and management and faculty affiliate of the Center for Bioethics and Health Law at the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health, is the lead evaluator for this initiative and has created methods to collect data from students and a plan to begin clinical data collection later this year.

The Central Regional Team, which is comprised of Centre Care Rehabilitation and Wellness and The Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing at Pennsylvania State University, described their relationship and progress. Andrew Naugle, BBA, NHA, administrator at Centre Care, and Marie Boltz, PhD, GNP-BC, FGSA, FAAN, Elouise Ross Eberly and Robert Eberly endowed chair and professor at The Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing at Pennsylvania State University, shared insights into the reasons why the RTNH initiative was a promising opportunity for both Centre Care and Penn State to deepen their relationship and improve care for older adults. They also discussed how the two organizations are building a collaborative environment between staff and students, by providing opportunities for staff to meet students off the floor and complete training together. This work continues.

There are a number of key policy efforts in the country that may directly intersect to advance the efforts of the RTNH initiative: It was announced that Terry Fulmer, PhD, RN, FAAN, president of The John A. Hartford Foundation, has been appointed to the long-term care coalition for New York State. In addition, Amy Berman, RN, FAAN, senior program officer at The John A. Hartford Foundation, noted several publications and opportunities to align efforts with others looking to reimagine care of older adults, including the Convergence work at the Brookings Institute and the Reframing Initiative which aims to address stereotypes and ageism.Dr. Bonner and the group examined key takeaways from the recently announced White House Fact Sheet and state of the union which addressed the importance of nursing home care and the work to which this group is dedicated. Ann Torregrossa, JD, executive director of the PA Health Funders Collaborative, focused on the importance of addressing the pay, working conditions, and significant vacancies in the long-term care workforce.

Dr. Bonner reviewed the progress made with the Nursing Home Prototyping of Age-Friendly Health Systems. The Institute for Healthcare Improvement worked across the country to refine the guide to be focused on nursing homes. The participating nursing homes created a workbook that would present a practical application for nursing homes to use with staff. The workbook is now being tested in 8-9 nursing homes, and feedback, including from partners in RTNH, is providing insights into how to streamline the workflow for nursing homes to implement Age-Friendly Health Systems. In April, the nursing home partners in RTNH will complete the Age-Friendly Health Systems Action Community, each achieving Level I or Level II accreditation.

The next meeting of the National and Statewide Advisory Group will be June 15, at which time there will be an in-depth discussion on the report of Improving the Quality of Nursing Homes being released by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, funded in part by both the John A. Hartford and Jewish Healthcare Foundations. 

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