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Posted: 9/1/2011

Through a $325,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Nurse Faculty Scholars Program Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing assistantSarah Szanton professor Sarah L. Szanton, PhD, CRNP, will continue her study of older, low-income senior citizens living on their own in Baltimore City.  Szanton will intervene with 60 households in her CAPABLE study, a community outreach project that addresses older adults’ environmental needs, as well as their health needs.

The CAPABLE study, which launched in August 2010, has already helped dozens of Baltimore City seniors age safely at home. Through a collaboration with the City of Baltimore, improvements have been made to bathrooms, stairways, kitchens, and other living spaces to ensure seniors are able to perform basic tasks without risk of a domestic injury.

Szanton says that early results from her study show that participants who received physical intervention to address their challenges had much less difficulty completing daily living activities such as bathing, dressing, meal preparation, using the telephone, shopping, and doing housework.  They also showed a 24 percent improvement in their lower extremity function.

“People are living longer, and many older adults still live in their own home,” Szanton notes. “Unfortunately, their dwelling space does not meet their physical needs, which can lead to accidents in the home. Funding from RWJF will help us reach out to more senior citizens in our community and help them live a longer, safer life.”

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholars program was designed to increase the stature and academic standing of nursing faculty and draw more nurses to teaching careers by creating a cadre of national leaders in academic nursing through career development awards to outstanding junior nursing faculty.