UD joins consortium focused on geriatric health
Mary Ann McLane, left, and Veronica Rempusheski.

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1 p.m., Aug. 24, 2010----A $250,000 grant from the Health Resources Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has enabled the University of Delaware to become a partner in the Eastern Pennsylvania-Delaware Geriatric Education Center (EPaD GEC).

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Established in 2005, the consortium works collaboratively with various community organizations and agencies to offer interprofessional education and training opportunities to enhance the quality of health care for the elderly. Other members include Thomas Jefferson University, Marywood University, The Commonwealth Medical College, and Christiana Care Health System.

Veronica Rempusheski, the Jeanne K. Buxbaum Chair of Nursing Science, will serve as the UD project director and as associate project director for the EPaD GEC. Mary Ann McLane, professor in the Department of Medical Technology, will also participate in the project.

“In the next 20 years, the older adult population will double,” Rempusheski says, “but little has been done to enhance education and training in gerontology and geriatrics for health science and health care professionals. The interdisciplinary, multi-institutional EPaD GEC will close this knowledge gap in Delaware and eastern Pennsylvania during the next five years. I'm very excited about the knowledge enhancement that this partnership proposes for professionals and about the positive outcomes this knowledge will have for the care of older adults in the First State.”

In addition to her administrative roles, Rempusheski will collaborate in the translation of evidence into comprehensive, innovative interdisciplinary curricula that will assist health and social service professionals to improve the care of older adults and meet the needs of their caregivers and families.

Five content areas have been specified for curricular development: geriatric oncology, transitional care across health care systems, health promotion and preventive care in older adults, recognition and treatment of dementia, and use of the technology to promote health and wellness in older adults.

McLane will lead the development of a series of digital presentations for web-based education focusing on geriatric-centered clinical lab issues such as coagulation, glucose, lipids, arthritis and cancer testing, and reference ranges for older adults.

“The elderly have unique health needs related to medical diagnostic testing,” McLane says, “including reference, or 'normal,' ranges that are different from those of a younger population. The DVD instructional units that we develop for care providers will impact hundreds, if not thousands, of senior citizens in the state of Delaware and beyond.”

Community organizations and agencies involved in the program include the Philadelphia Senior Center, Center in the Park-Philadelphia, Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, Wilmington Senior Center-Delaware, New Castle Senior Center-Delaware, and Delaware Aging Network.

“Interprofessional education is an important focus area for the Delaware Health Sciences Alliance,” says Kathleen Matt, executive director of DHSA and dean of the College of Health Sciences at UD. “This grant has the potential to significantly impact health care for a growing sector of our population with unique needs. Our involvement in the consortium promises to be another fruitful collaboration with our clinical and academic partners.”

Article by Diane Kukich
Photo by Ambre Alexander

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