Current Projects | 2019-2024

Transforming Federally Qualified Health Centers into Age-Friendly Health Systems. This project aims to enhance age-friendly health care within the federally qualified health centers of North Florida Medical Centers’ clinical locations. Through trainings and system change efforts, this activity is transforming clinical environments into integrated geriatrics and primary care systems, incorporating the 4Ms of age-friendly health systems: what matters to the older adults, medication, mentation, and mobility. We are also connecting providers and older patients with community-based, self-management wellness programs through a partnership with Advantage Aging Solutions.

African-American Alzheimer’s Caregiver Training and Support (ACTS 2). The African-American Alzheimer’s Caregiver Training and Support, or ACTS 2, program brings skills training and support to African-American dementia caregivers with depression. ACTS 2 aids in the delivery of mental health interventions for African-American caregivers by offering a spiritually-modified cognitive-behavioral intervention using easy-to-operate telehealth technology. This partnership is expanding the reach of ACTS 2 to central Florida.

Improving the Lives of Residents with Alzheimer’s through Montessori-Inspired Lifestyle® Training. The Montessori-Inspired Lifestyle®, developed by the Center for Applied Research in Dementia, is a highly innovative approach to dementia care that focuses on identifying individuals’ strengths and creating opportunities for interaction, engagement, and purpose. By training assisted living staff in this approach, this project is transforming partner facilities into person-centered environments. In addition, this project is supporting dementia-friendly communities in partnership with the Dementia Care and Cure Initiative through multi-sector community dementia education, resource sharing, and training in Montessori/person-centered approaches.

Partnering for Quality Care: Building Effective Collaborations between Home Care Workers and the Family Members of their Clients. This project is strengthening relationships between home care clients and the two groups that are equally important to their care – home care workers and family caregivers. In partnership with the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute and Florida Pioneer Network, educational trainings provided to partnering Home Instead locations are improving communication between these groups. Training activities aim to reduce interpersonal conflict and create opportunities for the client, home care worker, and family caregiver to work together successfully to optimize client care and health outcomes.

Novel, Longitudinal Geriatrics Curriculum for Physician Assistants. The new Physician Assistant School at the FSU College of Medicine presents a unique opportunity to teach the integration of geriatric care principles into primary care. This project is training and educating PA students to assess and address the primary care needs of older adults. Their clinical training environments are also being modified to incorporate the essential elements of age-friendly health systems and screenings for geriatric syndromes.

Previous Projects | 2015-2019

Primary Care Consortium to Primary Care Consortium: Ensuring Geriatrics Competencies for Family Medicine & Internal Medicine Residents – With this project, we partnered with Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare, Florida Hospital, Lee Health, and Halifax Hospital Medical Center’s family and internal medicine residency programs to strengthen geriatrics components of curricula. Residents at each location helped identify needs and engage in patient education for common post-hospital and ambulatory clinic concerns to facilitate patients’ self-care and recovery such as reducing risk of falls and minimizing medication errors. Each residency program developed quality improvement projects that focused on system-based changes that would allow geriatrics best practices to be automated. Our educational resources and quality improvement tools continue to be an integrated part of these residency programs.

Caregiver Training to Powerful Tools for Caregivers – The goal of this project was to deliver community-based programs that provide caregivers of older adults with chronic conditions with the knowledge and skills to be engaged partners in health care teams, to advocate for personal and care recipient needs, and to improve their own health outcomes and quality of life. In partnership with the nationally recognized Powerful Tools for Caregivers program, we delivered a six-week program to family caregivers across Florida and trained a pool of certified leaders who continue to deliver workshops in communities across the state. Partnerships with Alzheimer’s Project, Westminster Communities of Florida, the Area Agency on Aging of Southwest Florida, and other organizations allowed for dissemination of caregiver workshops.

Senior Learning to Senior Learning Program: Promoting Activated Older Adults – Educational presentations were developed by health profession students and faculty on topics chosen by older adults such as brain health, heart health, falls prevention, advance care planning, and opioid misuse. These presentations, which are presented by medical students in community-based settings, are currently empowering hundreds of older adults across Florida to be active and informed members of their healthcare team. Presentations are available and ready-to-be-delivered by professionals and healthcare trainees.

Transforming Rural and Underserved Care Environments to Deliver High-Quality Geriatric Care and Geriatric Education – In a collaborative effort with Healthcare Network (HCN) of Southwest Florida (a Federally Qualified Health Center) and the FSU College of Medicine Regional Campus in Immokalee, we enhanced HCN’s ability to meet the complex care needs of their older patients. Project activities included interprofessional geriatrics training focused on topics such as reducing polypharmacy and advance care planning, EMR modifications and quality data tracking, and partnership building with the Area Agency on Aging of Southwest Florida. HCN’s Senior Care clinic continues to use modified patient care protocols, geriatric assessments, and team communication to provide geriatric-focused, patient-centered care.

Interprofessional Education to Interprofessional Education for Enhanced Geriatrics Care – This project aimed to train nursing, social work, pharmacy, and medical students to better assess and address the health needs of older adults and to work effectively in interprofessional teams. Through partnerships with Florida State University’s Colleges of Nursing, Social Work, and Medicine as well as Florida A&M University College of Pharmacy, we created an interactive, online curriculum for students that included an introduction to each discipline; benefits of interprofessional interactions; video role modeling of good communication skills; clinical topics of cognitive and mental health, function, and pharmacology; and case-based applications. This curriculum culminated into a simulated, interprofessional, clinical immersion experience, which still occurs annually.

Nurse Workforce Enhancement – The goal of this project was to train nurses and other providers to better assess and address the health needs of older adults, including frail, vulnerable populations residing in assisted living and nursing communities. To do so, we created interactive, online modules on topics such as Pain Assessment and Management, Determining Cause and Effective Treatment of Responsive Behaviors in Persons With Dementia, and more. These modules are still used by our partners and are available for professionals and healthcare trainees.

Flip the Script – In partnership with the University of South Florida School of Aging Studies & Florida Policy Exchange Center on Aging (USF School of Aging Studies), we launched a public information campaign to“flip the script” on how Florida’s older adults think and talk about pain. Flip the Script was developed to help people:

  • Learn More about the types of pain and the impact of pain
  • Be Prepared to describe and track the pain they feel
  • Take Action to find relief and better manage pain by initiating conversations with a health care provider about their pain, and ultimately share in the decision-making about how to treat pain – which may or may not include prescription medicines

The campaign provides older adults and their care partners with resources, checklists, and questions to help start conversations with their health care providers about pain. Resources also provide information to help older adults and care partners understand a variety of options available for treating pain. Downloadable resources are currently available on the Flip The Script website, which provides information on Understanding Pain, Managing Pain, Safe Use of Pain Medicine, Awareness of Pain Medicine Misuse, and A Guide for Care Partners.