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The Roger C. Lipitz Center for Integrated Health Care

Final NHATS COVID-19 Sample Person (SP) and Family and Friends (FF) Files Released

Final versions of the NHATS COVID-19 Sample Person (SP) and Family and Friends (FF) files have been released. In 2020, NHATS conducted a supplemental mail study about participants’ experiences during the COVID-19 outbreak. Adult family members and friends who helped NHATS participants were also surveyed about their experiences helping the NHATS participant during the outbreak. The SP file is available under Public Use Files and the FF file is available under Sensitive Data procedures. An updated user guide, variable-instrument crosswalk, and a crosswalk of changes between the beta and final versions are also available. 

Stemming the High and Rising Costs of Prescription Drugs: A new Center issue brief

For over 5 years, faculty at the Center have engaged in a multi-disciplinary initiative to understand the landscape and propose solutions to reduce prescription drug spending in America. Collaborating with decision makers and developing policies to reduce prescription drug spending without stifling innovation in the pharmaceutical industry is key. Learn more about how the Center is working with Congress, partnering with states, and liaising with the Federal Administration on policy initiatives in the issue brief.

Newly Released NHATS Online Dashboard and Chartbook

New National Health and Aging Trends Study online dashboards and a companion chart book have been published to describe trends in late-life functioning of the US Medicare population ages 70 and older. The dashboards are designed to facilitate understanding by researchers, policymakers and care providers of how daily life is changing for older adults as the US population ages. The companion chart book includes key findings about recent trends with an emphasis on differences by age group, gender, and race and Hispanic ethnicity groups.

Center Director, Jennifer Wolff, was recently awarded funding from the John A. Hartford Foundation

Center director Jennifer Wolff and Cait DesRoches of OpenNotes recently received renewed funding from the John A. Hartford Foundation to increase the uptake and use of shared electronic health record access by family caregivers of older adults, evaluate its effects and disseminate best practices to promote national adoption in three health systems. Because millions of older adults manage their health with the help of family caregivers, it is imperative they have shared access to the electronic health record. This work builds on a planning grant with researchers at the Center and leaders of the OpenNotes movement at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. 

Receipt of Posthospitalization Care Training Among Medicare Beneficiaries' Family Caregivers

In a new JAMA Network Open study led by Julia Burgdorf and co-authors Chanee Fabius, Catherine Riffin, and Jennifer Wolff, caregivers were less likely to receive adequate transitional care training if they were Black; experienced financial difficulty; or cared for a Black, female, or Medicaid-enrolled older adult. These findings suggest that changes to the discharge process, such as using standardized caregiver assessments, may be necessary to ensure equitable support of family caregivers. Read more.

Unmet family caregiver training needs associated with acute care utilization during home health care

In a new Journal of the American Geriatrics Society study supported by the T32 Training Program in Health Service and Outcomes Research for Aging Populations grant, first author Julia Burgdorf found that unmet training needs among family caregivers are associated with greater likelihood of acute care utilization among Medicare beneficiaries receiving home health care. Rates of unmet need for training varied by activity, from 8.2% of family caregivers assisting with household chores to 16.0% assisting with self-care tasks. Investigators suggest that identifying and addressing family caregivers' training needs may reduce older adults' risk of acute care utilization during home health care. 

A randomized intervention involving family to improve communication in breast cancer care

A new Susan G Komen funded study in NPJ Breast Cancer authored by Jennifer Wolff, Jennifer Aufill, Diane Echavarria, Amanda Blackford, Roisin Connolly, John Fetting, Danijela Jelovac, Katie Papathakis, Carol Riley, Vered Stearns, Nelli Zafman, Elissa Thorner, Howard Levy, Amy Guo, Sydney Dy, and Antonio Wolff found that a brief, scalable communication intervention led to greater care partner MyChart use and increased illness understanding among breast cancer patients with more engaged care partners. Patients whose care partners logged into MyChart were more likely to have complete illness understanding at 9 months, less symptoms of anxiety, and higher satisfaction with cancer care.

New Summary Report from the National Research Summit on Care, Services, Support for Persons with Dementia and Their Caregivers

Read the new National Institute on Aging (NIA) summary report developed from the National Research Summit on Care, Services, Support for Persons with Dementia and Their Caregivers held during the summer of 2020. The summit was co-chaired by center director and summit steering committee Jennifer Wolff and David Reuben of UCLA. View the full report here.

Allocation of National Institutes of Health Funding by Disease Category in 2008 and 2019

In a JAMA Network Open study Jeromie Ballreich, and co-authors Cary Gross, Neil Powe, and Gerard Anderson found that NIH spending for 46 diseases seemed to be based primarily on the level of NIH spending more than 10 years earlier, despite changes in burden of disease. By dollar volume, Alzheimer and dementia increased the most, with approximately $1.8 billion more funding in 2019 than, whereas interpersonal violence had the greatest decrease, $95 million, in 2019 NIH. The investigators recommend that Congress and the NIH should examine the allocation process to ensure NIH investments are responsive to changes in the health of the population. 

Family Caregiver Training Needs and Medicare Home Health Visit Utilization

A study led by Julia Burgdorf, and co-authors Elizabeth Stuart, Alicia Arbaje, and Jennifer Wolff in Medical Care found that family caregivers' activity-specific training needs may affect home health visit utilization. The researchers analyzed data from participants receiving Medicare-funded home health between 2011 and 2016 using linked National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS), Outcomes and Assessment Information Set (OASIS), and Medicare claims data. Key findings included that receipt of nursing visits was more likely when family caregivers had an identified need for training related to medication management or household chores and receipt of therapy visits was more likely when caregivers had an identified need for training related to self-care tasks. Read more