livingwell@home Q&A: Lead researcher discusses role in LivingWell@Home D
r. Les Grant of the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health is leading the research component of the Good Samaritan Society’s LivingWell@Home program.
Dr. Grant is the director of the Center for Aging Services Management at the university and is the senior researcher at My InnerView, a private applied research company. He also teaches courses in long-term care management, health policy and ethics, and advanced problem solving in healthcare organizations. He has worked on research grants from the National Institute on Aging, the U.S. Administration on Aging, the Centers for Disease Control, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Below are excerpts from Dr. Grant’s answers to questions about the research.
Q: Why did you decide this research would be a worthwhile project? A: Although future trends are impossible to forecast accurately, we as Americans are likely to face unprecedented challenges in future years due to the confluence of demographic and economic trends. As baby boomers enter into their retirement years, the U.S. population will undergo rapid demographic shifts. At the same time, current economic forecasts suggest that there are limits to the U.S. economy in achieving the same productivity gains that have been made over the past 40 years. In short, how can we as a society pay in the future for the promises that we have made to seniors in the present? We as a society and nation need to:
• Control healthcare expenditures • Reduce social isolation among seniors • Support the desire among seniors for independence • Reduce family caregiver burden • Provide high-quality services at affordable costs
The LivingWell@Home project has the potential to achieve one or more of these objectives.
Q: Four research groups were chosen for this study. What is their significance? A: The four groups were selected in order to test the efficacy of the LivingWell@Home technologies across a variety of settings along the continuum of long-term care. For example, individuals who are returning home to community settings after discharge from acute- care hospitals and after discharge from post-acute care facilities, as well as seniors living in assisted living
Dr. Les Grant Director of the Center for Aging Services Mangement at the University of Minnesota
communities and other community settings, will be participating in this study.
Q: Why were they picked as opposed to other groups of seniors that could have been studied? A: We want to test the efficacy of these innovative technologies among seniors who are most likely to benefit from the LivingWell@Home technologies. In research parlance, this strategy is referred to as optimizing the “effect size.” Seniors in each of the four research groups are likely to benefit from the LivingWell@Home technologies. These seniors were selected because of who they are and where they are on the long-term care continuum. These technologies are likely to have a large effect when it comes to improving one or more study outcomes, such as reducing healthcare costs, reducing utilization of healthcare services, improving health status, improving quality of life and improving client satisfaction.
Q: Are there other comments you’d like to add from the perspective of a researcher? A: Academic researchers at major research universities can benefit by working in close collaboration with provider organizations such as The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society. The LivingWell@Home research furthers the state of knowledge through a large-scale intervention study that would not be possible without an effective partnership among multiple organizations such as The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society, WellAWARE Systems, Philips Lifeline, Honeywell HomMed, and others. As a researcher, I feel honored to be a participant on this team.
The Good Samaritan • 2010 • Vol. 45 • No. 1 5
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