152187 A university-department of health collaboration to improve function and quality of life among seniors with arthritis

Wednesday, November 7, 2007: 8:50 AM

Sarah E. Abrams, PhD, RN , Department of Nursing, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT
Purpose: This project report focuses on the collaboration between members of three academic departments of a state university, the arthritis program manager in the state department of health, and staff of senior residences to achieve desired outcomes in the areas of research, service, and teaching. Objectives: The partners goals were (1) to extend the state activities in arthritis education and tertiary prevention, (2) to conduct a pilot research project testing the effectiveness of a home-based exercise intervention on the function and quality of life of older adults living in subsidized housing, and (3) to use service learning to teach nursing students about the foundational values of community nursing and clinical research. Method: A quasi-experimental design, approved by the IRB of the university, was used to test functional status and quality of life among the older adults participating. Nursing students were taught about normal aging and given instruction in how to work with individuals in their own homes. They were also trained as instructors for the exercise program. Results: The outcomes of the intervention on the older adults who completed the study are reported elsewhere. Data from the arthritis program manager, staff of senior housing facilities, and excerpts from student journals about their experiences provide additional evaluation data related to the usefulness of the home-based service and the expected teaching outcomes. Project debriefing shed light on the issues of conducting a multiple-objective project. Conclusions: Conducting a multiple-objective project is complex and requires excellent relationships among partners. Even with extensive planning, there were unforeseen problems in the achievement of all of the goals, but outcomes were, if not statistically significant, valuable to participants and instructive to the investigators. Project debriefing is an essential element through which the processes used in establishing goals, developing mutual expectations, and planning intervention methods can serve to inform further collaborations.

Learning Objectives:
1. List the components of a successful partnership among academic departments and a state public health agency to achieve program outreach goals. 2. Describe the impact of short-term collaboration on the quality of life and functional status of older adults with arthritis. 3. Evaluate the benefits and challenges of using service learning in an outcomes-focused pilot research project.

Keywords: Chronic Illness, Service Learning

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.