182257 Public health nurses keeping seniors healthy: 2007 West Philadelphia Senior Community Center Initiative

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 8:50 AM

Katherine K. Kinsey, PhD, RN, FAAN , National Nursing Centers Consortium, Nurse-Family Partnership Collaborative of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
Vanessa Smith-Doughty, MSN , School of Nursing and Health Sciences, La Salle University, Philadelphia, PA
Susan Pursch, MSW , Lutheran Children and Family Service, Philadelphia, PA
December 2006, the first new senior community center in more than 30 years opened in Philadelphia, PA. Low income seniors (average annual income $ 9000) living in West Philadelphia neighborhoods gravitated toward the center for social, recreational, nutritional and related services. January 2007, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania “walking about money” was awarded to Lutheran Children and Family Service to initiate a public health nursing project affiliated with the senior center. This paper describes the Keeping Seniors Healthy start-up phases and the ongoing work of the public health nurse (PHN) to promote holistic health; prevent disease; reduce injury, acute illness and exacerbation of chronic illness for the center's members, and community at large. The center has 450 registered members with 250 active members, average age 75 years, predominately female and 100% African American. The need to recruit/retain a PHN with the requisite cultural, communication and caring skills to work with minority seniors is emphasized. The PHN worked with staff to 1) plan, provide and evaluate educational programs addressing the needs and interests of all members; 2) organize a health room and drop in hours for individuals to confidentially seek guidance, support and health assessments; 3) develop a Health Advisory group; 4) coordinate on site preventive health services including flu vaccinations; 5) organize undergraduate nursing student clinical experiences; and, 6) implement member surveys regarding services and next steps. Short term outcomes and lessons learned are reported. Ninety seniors sought individualized counseling. The top three problems were health care literacy, hypertension follow-up/education, and diabetes follow-up/education. PHN roles included educator, clinician, case manager, counselor and advocate. According to senior center administrators, the PHN added “value” and distinction to the senior program. Clinical outcomes and member feedback support recent papers published in July/August 2004 Geriatric Nursing and 2003.20(2) and 2005.22(3) Community Health Nursing journals. Public health nursing contributions positively promote the health and well being of seniors. West Philadelphia seniors indicate they never felt better as compared to other senior center experiences. The future of this initiative and possible replication with similar populations is discussed.

Learning Objectives:
1.Discuss the value of public health nursing services in senior centers. 2.Describe public health nursing roles with disadvantaged, low income seniors. 3.Describe the sustainability challenges in working with the senior population.

Keywords: Access to Care, Minority Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Nurse Consultant to project
Any relevant financial relationships? No

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.

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