An Interdisciplinary Approach to Promote Older Adult Health (YouTube link)
Over twenty years ago, the University of Missouri formed a broad interdisciplinary team to revolutionize older adult care. Over the years, this team consisted of engineering, nursing, and social work researchers, among other valuable members. From this team came two unique and successful interventions. The first is the development of in-home sensor technology to help older adults age in place. This system captures sleep, gait, and activity patterns non-invasively recognizes when patterns change, and automatically generates alerts to signal possible impending health problems days or weeks earlier than people are typically aware, allowing them to seek early treatment. The second intervention is the Mobilizing Options for Quality Improvement in Post-Acute Care (MOQI-PAC) project. Full-time Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) and a multidisciplinary clinical support team in sixteen nursing homes promote early interventions for residents with declining health conditions. This team has been able to reduce potentially avoidable hospitalizations by 50% and all-cause hospitalizations by 32%. Together, these two interventions can result in even more improvements in avoidable hospitalizations, improved overall function, better chronic illness management, and better overall quality of life for older adults.