Alliance Awards Grants to Study Value-Based Care, Other Home Health Issues

The Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation (AHHQI) has announced awardees for its 2018 home health research grant funding cycle. Announced Thursday, funding will be used to support projects ranging from public policy to in-home care for patients with dementia.

Among this year’s group of awardees are Columbia University School of Nursing and the RAND Corporation, Rutgers University and the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) Health Group, and the Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania.

Washington, D.C.-based AHHQI is a nonprofit, national consortium of home health care providers — including several of the largest agencies in the U.S. — and one of the industry’s largest national trade associations. As part of its mission to improve the U.S. health care system through the development of high quality and innovative solutions, the association frequently invests in research and education related to home health care.

AHHQI declined to comment on the total funding for the grants.

“We’re thrilled to be able to provide funding for these critical research endeavors,” Donald Stelly, chairman of the AHHQI board of directors, said in a press release. “By seeding the money to pilot a number of different projects, the Alliance is helping to drive the future of home health care forward through high-quality research touching on a number of vital areas of providing care in the home which will benefit patients, caregivers, providers and the health care system at large.”

Researchers at Columbia University School of Nursing, led by Dr. Jingjing Shang, along with Dr. Patricia stone and their colleague at the RAND Corporation, Dr. Andrew Dick, will explore how home health agencies have responded to changes in quality and payment initiatives, specifically value-based purchasing. The team of researchers will work to identify best practices by conducting qualitative interviews and launching a national survey.

Santa Monica, California-based RAND Corporation is a nonprofit think tank that employs 1,850 professionals with locations in 50 countries. Columbia University School of Nursing is one of the oldest nursing schools in the U.S. and is ranked 11th on U.S. New & World Report’s Best Nursing Schools: Master’s list.

At Rutgers, Dr. Olga Jarrin and her colleague at VNA Health Group, Dr. Robert Rosati, are refining a method of rapidly identifying patients living with advanced cognitive impairment and dementia. The project will contribute to a larger effort to demonstrate the value of home health care for people living with dementia and their caregivers.

Nearly 50 million people worldwide live with a form of dementia, according to research by the World Health Organization. That number is projected to triple by 2050, making dementia programs even more important. To better care for that growing population, several home care providers have began to develop specialized dementia training programs for caregivers.

Rutgers is an a public research university and the largest higher education institution in New Jersey. VNA Health Group is a nonprofit provider of home health, hospice and community-based care serving New Jersey and mid-central Ohio.

Dr. Rebecca L. Trotta will pilot a program at the Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania on “flipped discharge,” a hospital-to-home intervention for older adults at risk of skilled nursing placement, according to AHHQI. The goal of the study is to implement an intervention protocol which promotes, when appropriate, home care as an alternative to institutional care.

Similar to specialized dementia care programs, hospital-at-home programs are also growing in popularity, with some programs, including Mount Sinai’s, seeing encouraging results.

The Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania is the flagship hospital of the University of Pennsylvania Health System and is ranked among the nations top hospitals by the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hospitals list.

The projects were chosen after an open request for proposals focused on home health care research announced in December 2017. The Alliance, led by its executive committee, board of directors and research work group, picked the three projects for their excellence in improving the delivery of care at home, according to AHHQI.

The newly announced projects join a previously revealed study by Drs. Cynthia Boyd, Bruce Leff and Orla Sheehan at Johns Hopkins University that will utilize qualitative research to design a clinical trial around the challenges of communication and care coordination between home health care agencies and clinicians who certify home health services.

Each research project is expected to be completed over a 12- to 18-month period, according to AHHQI.

Written by Kaitlyn Mattson

Kaitlyn Mattson on Email
Kaitlyn Mattson
When not writing about home health topics, Kaitlyn can be found kayaking on the Chicago River or taking pottery classes.

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