Jewish Healthcare Foundation Supports Pennsylvania Teaching Nursing Home Pilot to Transform Care Model

PITTSBURGH–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Pennsylvania Teaching Nursing Home project will test and validate a better model of care for the Commonwealth’s frailest nursing home residents, with support from the Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF). The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the clinical, financial, social, emotional, and infection control vulnerabilities of our current facilities—for residents and workers. The urgency to learn from a pandemic that resulted in the deaths of over 184,000 residents and staff in long-term care became apparent. The project will reexamine a model of care that proved successful in the 1980s: a “teaching nursing home” environment where students, faculty, and healthcare workers collaborate to improve care for residents. The contemporary model provides opportunities for researchers to experiment and improve methods of care, and for students to foster careers in nursing homes and geriatrics.

To launch the pilot in three teaching nursing home partnerships in Pennsylvania, Health Careers Futures, an operating arm of JHF, received three grants totaling $974,110 from JHF, The John A. Hartford Foundation, and the Henry L. Hillman Foundation.

The partnerships will equip existing skilled nursing facility staff with clinical, training, research, and quality improvement support, creating a critical bridge between bedside care and academic innovation and clinical expertise. With increased opportunities to learn first-hand and in a real-life setting, students and staff will enhance their clinical skills while improving the functioning and health status of seniors. Project leaders anticipate the results of the pilot will inform a better model for ongoing clinical quality improvement and safety in long-term care.

The pilot will engage key academic partners at the nursing schools of the Pennsylvania State University, University of Pennsylvania, and University of Pittsburgh.

“The pandemic has shown us the multiple ways we have failed to appropriately integrate nursing homes into the continuum of care and the continuum of nursing education,” said Terry Fulmer, PhD, RN, FAAN, President, The John A. Hartford Foundation. “This program, which has previously shown positive results without the benefit of the Internet, can now be revisited with these world class nursing schools.”

The project will begin on July 1, 2021 and run through 2023 in three regions of Pennsylvania (Eastern, Central and Western). The three funding organizations share an interest in improving the care of nursing home residents and supporting the current and future workforce of skilled nursing homes. The project will draw on existing resources from The John A. Hartford Foundation’s Age-Friendly Health Systems initiative and JHF’s Full Court Press Senior Residential Living Team, while integrating lessons learned from the Teaching Nursing Home implementation of the 1980s (originally supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.)

“The preceding fifteen months, while extraordinarily difficult for long-term care, yielded a number of natural experiments demonstrating that there are creative, innovative ideas in the field worthy of further review and study. This effort will provide a research and pilot platform for what we believe will be helpful concepts to improve quality of life in long-term care.” added David K. Roger, President of the Henry L. Hillman Foundation.

“The pandemic tragedy in nursing homes brought attention to the serious challenges to our long-term care industry that have been building for decades. We are proud to bring together a coalition of funding, academic, and health system partners to test a new approach in our Commonwealth,” said Karen Wolk Feinstein, PhD, President and CEO of JHF and Health Careers Futures. “Inspiring examples like Hebrew SeniorLife in Boston have demonstrated the positive impact on patients and staff in a teaching nursing home model. We believe this pilot could help pave the way for better long-term care across the country.”

About the Jewish Healthcare Foundation

The Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) and its three operating arms — the Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative (PRHI), Health Careers Futures (HCF), and the Women’s Health Activist Movement Global (WHAMglobal) — offer a unique brand of activist philanthropy to advance healthcare innovation, advocacy, collaboration, and education in the interest of better population health. For more information, visit jhf.org.

About The John A. Hartford Foundation

The John A. Hartford Foundation, based in New York City, is a private, nonpartisan philanthropy dedicated to improving the care of older adults. Established in 1929, the Foundation has three priority areas: creating age-friendly health systems, supporting family caregiving, and improving serious illness and end-of-life care. For more information, visit www.johnahartford.org and follow @johnahartford.

About the Henry L. Hillman Foundation

The Henry L. Hillman Foundation’s mission is to inspire, invest in, and leverage great ideas and initiatives for outcomes that improve the quality of life in Pittsburgh and southwestern Pennsylvania. Supporting healthy aging is a new priority area of the Foundation. For more information, visit hillmanfamilyfoundations.org.

About Health Careers Futures

Health Careers Futures (HCF) is a nonprofit operating arm of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation focused on regional supply and demand of healthcare workers. HCF collaborates with all stakeholders to attract, support and retain healthcare workers and contribute to long-term regional economic development of southwestern Pennsylvania. For more information, visit hcfutures.org.

Jewish Healthcare Foundation Supports Pennsylvania Teaching Nursing Home Pilot to Transform Care Model