Strategies to Promote the Implementation of Outcome Measures in Stroke Rehabilitation (the I-STROM study)

The problem this research addresses: Over 80% of stroke survivors have impairments of the upper extremity (e.g., shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand). However, only 5% of occupational therapy (OT) practitioners routinely assess upper extremity function using standardized assessments. Without these objective assessment data, it is quite challenging to note improvements in upper extremity function as stroke survivors participate in occupational therapy interventions.

Purpose of this research: This study (I-STROM) aims to improve OT practitioners’ adoption of two evidence-based assessments that measure upper extremity function: the Fugl-Meyer Assessment and the Action Research Arm Test. Our team will deploy a “bundle” of implementation strategies to facilitate the use of these two assessments in the acute care, inpatient, and outpatient settings. These strategies include (1) conducting educational meetings, (2) hosting knowledge sharing events, (3) appointing assessment champions, (4) changing physical equipment, (5) changing record systems, and (6) developing web-based training materials.

Key partners: The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

Funding support: The American Occupational Therapy Foundation (AOTFIR21JUCKETT)

Project period: August 2021 – August 2023

Upskilling Care Partners to Provide Nutritional Support for People Living with Dementia

The problem this research addresses: Nearly two million people living with dementia (PLWD) in the United States are malnourished, leading to rapid cognitive decline and the loss of independence. To reduce the risk of malnourishment, home-delivered meal programs provide nutritional support to PLWD in the community – half of whom live with a care partner. Given that PLWD are highly susceptible to malnutrition-related health complications, there is a unique opportunity to develop interventions that “upskill” care partners in the provision of nutritional support in home-delivered meal systems.

Purpose of this research: This project includes (1) the completion of a needs assessment to identify modifiable factors of nutritional health among PLWD in home-delivered meal systems, and (2) the development of the NU-CARE (Nutritional support Upskilling for CARE partners) program to support nutritional health in PLWD. The long-term goal of this work is to implement NU-CARE widely and optimize its sustainability in home-delivered meal systems nationwide.

Key partners: Lifecare Alliance

Funding support: NIA IMPACT Collaboratory, Career Development Award (#UC301)

Project period: July 2022 – June 2024

SixtyPLUS: Combining Occupational Therapy and Registered Dietitian Services for Home-Delivered Meal Recipients

The problem this research addresses: Though home-delivered meal programs provide essential health and nutritional support to vulnerable older adults, many meal recipients present with complex needs that cannot be met through the provision of meals alone. Examples of these needs relate to dietary intake, functional independence, and safety within the home. Thus, innovative solutions are needed to help home-delivered meal recipients improve their nutritional intake and simultaneously optimize their safety and independence in their home environments.

Purpose of this research: Over the course of this five-year project, we will develop and test the SixtyPLUS program designed for home-delivered meal recipients. In particular, we will apply occupational therapy (OT) and registered dietitian (RD) best practices to (1) develop a screening algorithm for identifying clients appropriate for the SixtyPLUS program; (2) implement SixtyPLUS with eligible clients; (3) evaluate the effectiveness of SixtyPLUS for improving clients’ nutritional status, social engagement, and well-being; (4) determine which combination of RD and OT services lead to the best outcomes for HDM clients; and (5) create training tools and resources to support the replicability of SixtyPLUS across other aging service agencies nationwide.

Key partners: Lifecare Alliance

Funding support: Administration for Community Living (#90INNU0044-01-00)

Project period: August 2022 – July 2027

Using Smart Technology to Monitor Fall Risk Factors among Community-Dwelling Older Adults

The problem this research addresses: Falls are the leading cause of injury an injury-related disability among older adults in the United States. At highest risk for falls are older adults who are living with multiple chronic conditions and have difficulty completing routine activities of daily living. Accordingly, there is a need to monitor the fall risk factors of these individuals and provide appropriate interventions to reduce the risk of falling.

Purpose of this research: This study will evaluate the extent to which smart technology – specifically the BBalance Matscale – can be leveraged to track fall-related outcomes of older adults in their own homes. Specifically, we will (a) determine the perceived usability, usefulness, and desirability of a smart technology-enabled device designed to monitor daily changes in balance and posture and (b) test the feasibility of using the BBalance Matscale to collect longitudinal data from community-dwelling older adults.

Key partners: Lifecare Alliance

Funding support: Simpson-Cummings Endowment; The Ohio State University, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

Project period: October 2022 – September 2023