UofL Trager Institute expands health transformation for care of older adults across Kentucky

By Julie Heflin, UofL News

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The renewal of a substantial grant will allow the University of Louisville Trager Institute to build on the success of programs aimed at care coordination, professional education, community building and Alzheimer’s and dementia awareness.

The Health Resources and Services Administration has renewed the institute’s $3.75 million grant to expand its Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP) throughout Kentucky. The previous funding awarded in 2015 focused on areas in and around Louisville; the new funding will help the institute reach all 120 counties in the Commonwealth.

The UofL Schools of Law, Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing and the Kent School of Social Work will be part of this program to help individuals optimally age by intervening in multiple facets of care which include patients, their families and caregivers, interdisciplinary health professionals, practice models, health care systems and communities.

“This grant renewal speaks to the success of our Trager Institute, and we are deeply honored to be recognized at a federal level for our success and promise of future achievements to dramatically improve the health and well-being of older adults throughout Kentucky,” said UofL President Neeli Bendapudi, PhD.

“To date, we have helped more than 300 older adults move toward the goal of optimal aging and we have trained more than 3,500 learners,” said Anna Faul, PhD, executive director of the UofL Trager Institute. “Our outcomes include the development of our nationally recognized Flourish Index which assesses the degree to which a patient is flourishing in six determinants of health. We’ve also had numerous publications and have included our model of care at the Republic Bank Foundation Optimal Aging Clinic.”

During the next five years, the program seeks to address the following core health needs of older adults in Kentucky:

  • High levels of chronic conditions and poor quality of life among older adults
  • Lack of a robust rural primary care system, particularly the low number of geriatricians
  • Lack of quality nursing home care in rural areas
  • The need to create age-friendly emergency departments
  • The need to coordinate coalitions and community stakeholders to maximize the potential of population health initiatives within rural environments
  • The need to train a health care workforce that can deliver culturally appropriate services to the growing Hispanic populations
  • Lack of knowledge among health care professionals about the need for alternative pain management strategies to address the risk of opioid misuse
  • The need for dementia-friendly communities and compassionate care for people with Alzheimer’s and related dementia

Goals of the expanded efforts include strengthened partnerships, professional education for health care providers as well as students, community building and Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias trainings using the institute’s own Compassionate Care curriculum.

To learn more about the work of the UofL Trager Institute and the new Republic Bank Foundation Optimal Aging Clinic, visit www.tragerinstitute.org.

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