United Church Homes and Miami University Join Forces to Positively Impact Aging

October 27, 2022

MARION, OH—United Church Homes (UCH) is pleased to announce its collaboration with Miami University’s Scripps Gerontology Center in Oxford, OH, through a National Institute on Aging grant to test the feasibility of a positive psychological intervention in older adults living with dementia.

Katy Abbott, Ph.D., MGS, executive director of the Scripps Gerontology Center, was awarded the $175,000 grant through The National Institute of Aging’s Imbedded Pragmatic Alzheimer’s Disease Clinical Trials (IMPACT) Collaboratory.

Abbott will partner with the interdisciplinary teams within 10 UCH-owned and managed communities to pilot a pragmatic clinical trial to engage people living with dementia in positive ways that enhance well-being and address behavioral responses. Abbott’s Individualized Positive Psychosocial Intervention (IPPI) program engages in 10 minutes of one-to-one, preference-based activities twice a week, with the goal of decreasing feelings of distress and enhancing well-being among residents. The primary goal is improvement of mood and behavior among the residents who participate in this study.

As a healthcare systems scholar, Abbott has completed significant research focusing on preference-based person-centered care and social networks in long-term care settings. She co-founded Preference Based Living, a collaborative organization with the mission to conduct studies that build understanding of individual preferences through a comprehensive assessment (IPPI). Additionally, she leads an interdisciplinary team, which provides training and guidance to long-term care services and supports for quality improvement.

“My aspirational goal is that all individuals living with dementia receive preference-based, person-centered care. As a researcher, I believe I have a role to play, by partnering with providers to co-create efficient processes that can support their efforts to assess, honor and communicate individual preferences throughout the care delivery process,” said Abbott. “United Church Homes was the first organization I thought of to partner with because I know their mission, vision and values align closely with our preference-based research.”

President and chief executive officer of United Church Homes, Rev. Dr. Kenneth Daniel, said more than 50% of residents in UCH nursing communities have a diagnosis of dementia. “Collaborating together in this manner to improve the quality of care for our residents living with dementia is a high priority for our organization, and we are eager to see how this research enhances the lives of those living in our communities,” he added.

Together with UCH, Abbott will identify potential barriers to implementing new initiatives in the 10 nursing communities, collaboratively identify IPPI program processes and outcomes of interest to stakeholders, integrate a pragmatic process and impact outcome measures in the UCH electronic medical record, and build a strong foundation of trust and collaboration.

UCH values this relationship with Miami University and other academic partners, said Amy Kotterman, director of customer experience. “We are excited to team up with Dr. Abbott and Scripp’s Gerontology on this research to improve the quality of care for individuals living with dementia and their care partners,” she said.

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