Happy holidays from Scripps Gerontology Center. Photo of snow covered building.

Current Research Projects

Aging and Disability Business Center Evaluation

National Association of Area Agencies on Aging
Principal Investigator: Suzanne Kunkel
October 2016 - March 2018

The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging is creating and implementing a series of business tools and resources to support formal contracting arrangements between community-based organizations and the health care system. Scripps Gerontology Center is working with the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging to evaluate the effectiveness and overall impact of the resources and interventions offered through this project.

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Assessing Satisfaction and the Impact of Senior Center Services in Nine Northwestern Ohio Counties

Area Office on Aging of Northwestern Ohio
Principal Investigator: Jonathon Vivoda
October 2017 - August 2018

This study will assess overall satisfaction with services provided by senior centers and their impact on the lives of participants in nine counties in the Northwestern Ohio area. Satisfaction will focus on congregate meals, recreation, transportation, and supportive services. The study will also determine satisfaction and impact by county.

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Assessing Preference Based Living in Ohio's Nursing Homes

Ohio Department of Medicaid
Principal Investigator: Katherine Abbott
July 2016 - June 2019

The Preferences for Everyday Living Inventory is an instrument used to assess nursing home residents’ preferences. It has been selected by the Ohio Department of Medicaid as one of five quality improvement indicators. This project will guide nursing homes on ways to integrate this instrument into nursing home residents’ daily care. It will provide education and training for nursing homes on how to use information about residents’ preferences to guide care. The project will also evaluate the barriers to implementing this preference assessment and provide solutions for long-term sustainability.

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Evaluating Long-Term Services and Supports in Ohio

Department of Health and Human Services
Principal Investigator: Suzanne Kunkel
August 2017 - June 2018

The number of older adults in Ohio with severe disabilities and most in need of long-term services and supports will increase over the next 15 years. Because of this challenge, Ohio has made progress in changing how it delivers long-term services. This project will evaluate the outcomes of a state initiative, No Wrong Door, which ensures that good information is an important first step in making sure that individuals with disabilities end up in the right place. It will also evaluate the use of enhanced housing coordinators to better integrate the acute and long-term services received by residents living in congregate housing.

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Evaluation of AgeWell

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Principal Investigators: Paul Flaspohler & Jane Straker
December 2016 - November 2017 

The AgeWell program trains and employs able older adults to provide companionship to chronically ill older adults in the community. It aims to improve health and well-being outcomes by reducing isolation and identifying potential health or social problems and making referrals to the appropriate services. The program also hopes to decrease medical costs through reducing hospitalizations, hospital readmissions, and emergency room visits. The primary purpose of this project is to evaluate the implementation of the AgeWell pilot in Cleveland, Ohio. Other pilot sites currently underway include Limerick, Ireland and Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

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Genetic Epidemiology of Ocular Health and Disease

University of Texas Rio Grande Valley 
Principal Investigator: Janardan Subedi 
December 2015 - May 2019

An estimated 90% of the world’s visually impaired live in developing countries. The visually impaired are faced with lower independence and quality of life, and the costs associated with visual impairment place a huge economic and societal burden on families, communities, and nations. This project will use previous genetic research to examine eye-related traits and disorders with the Jirel people in eastern Nepal. It will provide new information on the genetic markers of eye-related traits and the genetic risk for eye diseases.

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Honoring Individual Preferences When the Choice Involves Risk

The Mayer-Rothschild Foundation
Principal Investigator: Katherine Abbott
May 2017 - April 2018

Person-centered care emphasizes “knowing the person” and honoring each person’s preferences. The Scripps Gerontology Center and The Mayer-Rothschild Foundation are working together to develop and disseminate a training video, guide, and tip sheet based upon a person-centered care planning document developed by the Mayer-Rothschild Foundation. The training video will highlight how to plan nursing home residents’ care around what are perceived to be risky resident nursing home preferences, such as a resident who wishes to go outside unsupervised or choosing what to eat if the resident is on a special diet.

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Information and Planning: Understanding the Capacity of the Aging Network

National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (N4a)
Principal Investigator: Suzanne Kunkel
April 2016 - August 2018

This project will collect information about, report on, and support the roles and activities of the Aging Network which is comprised of Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) and Tribal Organizations (TOs). The sixth comprehensive survey of these organizations will be conducted, along with a targeted issue survey for AAAs. Reports focusing on the progress of the Aging Network over the past decade and peer groups based on characteristics such as organizational size and governance structure will be created. This project will also create a series of downloadable charts and data to support the AAAs in their advocacy and service activities.

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Long-Term Care Research

Ohio Department of Higher Education
Principal Investigator: Suzanne Kunkel
July 2017 - June 2019

The Ohio Long-Term Care Research Project was established by the legislature in 1988. The goal of this project is to provide information needed for effective planning, program development, and policy-making.

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Mapping Barriers to Community College Completion Among Older Learners: Identifying Malleable Factors to Improve Student Outcomes

U.S. Department of Education
Principal Investigators: Phyllis Cummins & Kathryn McGrew
July 2016 - June 2017

An increasing proportion of community college students are ages 25 and above yet little research has identified strategies and interventions to help them succeed. This research will analyze data from Ohio’s community colleges to propose interventions that facilitate successful outcomes for older students, especially the 40 to 64 age group.

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Mixed-Methods Study of Middle-Aged and Older Adults: Lifelong Learning, Skill Proficiencies, and Employment in the U.S. and Selected OECD Countries

U.S. Department of Education
Principal Investigator: Phyllis Cummins
July 2017 - June 2018

This research project will examine the relationships among skill proficiencies, employment, labor force participation, lifelong learning, and educational attainment for adults in the U.S. aged 40 to 74. U.S. results will be compared with several other countries. In addition, the project will examine lifelong learning and labor market policies in the U.S. and several other countries and interview key people in other countries.

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Ohio’s Combined WIOA Plan: Identifying Strategies and Supports to Improve Outcomes for Older Workers Phase Three 

US Department of Labor
Principal Investigator: Phyllis Cummins 
February 2017 - June 2017 

Scripps Gerontology Center has worked with the Ohio Department of Aging to develop a survey to measure the satisfaction of older adults who are receiving services at the Ohio Means Jobs Centers. This current project will test this survey at four Ohio Means Jobs Centers and will make recommendations to fully implement the survey at all Ohio Means Jobs Centers.

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Opening Minds through Art (OMA): QIP Expansion 

Ohio Department of Medicaid
Principal Investigator: Elizabeth Lokon 
July 2016 - June 2019

Opening Minds through Art (OMA) is an intergenerational art-making program for people with dementia and provides opportunities for creative self-expression and social engagement for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other neurocognitive disorders. The purpose of this project is to put OMA in more nursing facilities in Ohio so that Ohio can serve as the national model for quality of care improvement through creative arts. The goal is to have OMA offered at 100 nursing homes in Ohio within the next three years.

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Our Family, Our Way: A Care Communication Tool for Aging Parents and Their Adult Children

The Retirement Research Foundation
Principal Investigator: Kathryn McGrew 
October 2016 - September 2017

This study will develop, implement, and evaluate a family-directed communication and planning toolkit to be used by families of older adults with chronic illness and/or disability. This intervention specifically focuses on community-dwelling aging parents and their adult children, including children-in-law and stepchildren. The goal is to facilitate more equitable care and support arrangements that reduce individual distress and improve perceived family competence about decision making and planning.

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Person-Centered Staff Engagement Project

Ohio Department of Aging
Principal Investigator: Jane Straker
March 2017 - June 2019

This project will evaluate the impact of a program to improve care provided in Ohio nursing homes. Through focused training and support, 100 Ohio nursing homes will participate in a number of strategies to reduce staff turnover and thereby set the foundation for individualized and person-centered care. The evaluation will consider impacts on deficiencies, complaints, staff turnover and other measures.

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System Factors and Racial Disparities in Nursing Home Quality of Life and Care

National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
Miami's Subcontract Principal Investigator: John Bowblis 
August 2016 - April 2021

Nursing homes with a higher proportion of minority residents tend to have lower quality, including quality of life. This project will examine how quality of life differs depending on the proportion of minority residents living in a nursing home. It will identify factors that cause these differences. It will also attempt to determine how much differences in quality of life can be improved if these factors are addressed.

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Tracking Long-Term Services Use in Ohio: July 2017 -June 2019

Ohio Department of Aging
Principal Investigators: Robert Applebaum & Ian "Matt" Nelson
July 2017 - June 2019

Over two decades, Scripps researchers have been tracking the use and costs of long-term services for Ohio's growing older population. Findings from this study are used to evaluate changes in state policy as Ohio has enacted reforms to respond to the increase in the older adult population.


Recently completed projects

2016 Ohio Facility Family Satisfaction Surveys

Ohio Department of Aging
Principal Investigator: Jane Straker
May 2016 - June 2017

This project provides family satisfaction information for 969 nursing homes and 658 residential care facilities in Ohio. This important information is collected via a survey of resident’s family members. They are given the opportunity to share their opinions about the care and services where their family member or friend resides. The information from these surveys are grouped by facility and reported on Ohio's long-term care consumer guide at www.ltc.ohio.gov. Each facility also receives a report of their results to assist them in improving their care and services.

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Assessing Participant Satisfaction and Impact of Services Provided by the Area Office on Aging of Northwestern Ohio

Area Office on Aging of Northwestern Ohio, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Jonathon Vivoda 
June 2016 - March 2017

The purpose of this study is to identify reasons why some older residents do not utilize services provided by Senior Centers in their area. This study will assess attitudes about senior centers as well as programming, perceived barriers, and self-efficacy related to senior center use. The desired features of senior centers will also be explored to help determine how to better attract local residents.

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Evaluating Long-Term Services and Supports in Ohio

Ohio Department of Medicaid 
Principal Investigator: Suzanne Kunkel 
September 2015 - June 2017

The number of older adults in Ohio with severe disabilities and most in need of long-term services and supports will increase over the next 15 years. Because of this challenge, Ohio has made progress in changing how it delivers long-term services. This project will evaluate the outcomes of a state initiative, No Wrong Door, which ensures that good information is an important first step in making sure that individuals with disabilities end up in the right place. It will also evaluate the use of enhanced housing coordinators to better integrate the acute and long-term services received by residents living in congregate housing.

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Long-Term Care Research

Ohio Department of Higher Education
Principal Investigator: Suzanne Kunkel 
July 2015 - June 2017

The Ohio Long-Term Care Research Project was established by the legislature in 1988. The goal of this project is to provide information needed for effective planning, program development, and policy-making.

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Tracking Long-Term Services Use in Ohio: July 2015 -June 2017

Ohio Department of Aging
Principal Investigator: Robert Applebaum
July 2015 - June 2017

Over two decades, Scripps researchers have been tracking the use and costs of long-term services for Ohio's growing older population. Findings from this study are used to evaluate changes in state policy as Ohio has enacted reforms to respond to the increase in the older adult population.

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What Matters Most - Ohio

Ohio Department of Aging
Principal Investigator: Katherine Abbott 
August 2015 - June 2017

This study builds upon the What Matters Most (WMM) guide developed for clients of Ohio’s Passport Medicaid waiver program. The goals are to 1) refine the WMM process (who gathers which info when; where is it stored; how is it accessed), 2) conceptualize and operationalize proximal outcomes, 3) develop a process for collecting proximal outcome data, 4) pilot test the WMM implementation and outcomes assessment in an urban Area Agency on Aging in Ohio’s southwestern region, and 5) plan with the Ohio Department of Aging on a training system for statewide implementation and sustainability.

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Xavier University Montessori Program for Dementia

Xavier University 
Miami's Principal Investigator: Jennifer Kinney
July 2015 - June 2017

With support from the Joseph J. Schott Foundation, Xavier University developed a program that applies Montessori education principles and methods to working with older adults with dementia. These principles will help those with dementia maintain cognitive and motor functions.  Montessori methods and materials can be used to stabilize and slow memory loss, maintain self-help skills, and provide the adult with activities that will stimulate memories and fully engage them in meaningful work.