Center for Aging Research and Education, School of Nursing, University of Wisconsin-Madison
December 2022

The monthly newsletter from the Center for Aging Research and Education (CARE) at the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Nursing.

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University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Nursing Assistant Professor Kristen Pecanac, PhD, RN studies interactions among healthcare practitioners, patients, and family members as they make treatment decisions in hospital settings. 

She says the peer review process has provided her with clear examples of ageism.

“I did a study where I looked at conversations between physicians and older adults during daily rounds,” says Pecanac.  

“There was one conversation where there were really, really long pauses. The physician would ask the patient a question and they weren’t responding. I was in the room, so I could take notes. I could see the patient falling asleep. Early in the conversation, asked how they were doing, they said, ‘I couldn’t sleep, I was really anxious.’” 

“When I submitted the paper for publication, I received a lot of interesting comments from reviewers,” says Pecanac.
Visiting family for the holidays? Consider discussing preferences for future care and support with them.

CARE's Agefully website was designed for and with family caregivers of older adults. Each topic includes articles about starting conversations. Agefully plans help families prepare to meet health, housing, transportation, financial, or other needs that may arise as we age.
Kristen Pickett, PhD is an Assistant Professor in Occupational Therapy at UW–Madison. She focuses on collaborative and community-based research methods aimed at positively impacting health outcomes for older adults, especially those with Parkinson disease, who have limited access to effective forms of physical activity. Her Sensory Motor Integration Lab delivers physical activity interventions in-home via telehealth and through group classes held at community-based facilities.
  • Only four seats open! The Spring 2023 offering of Nursing 511 "Community supports for people with dementia" is nearly full. This service-learning course is open to all majors, undergraduate and graduate students, and offers meaningful volunteer projects with a wide range of community partners.
  • "At much younger ages, Black adults have disproportionately higher risks of developing high blood pressure," states an article on the Nurses 4 Black Well-Being research led by School of Nursing Professor LD Oakley, PhD, RN.
  • "Older people were always especially vulnerable and now make up a higher proportion of COVID fatalities than ever before in the pandemic," a Scientific American article summarizes. "Racism and discrimination also play an outsize role in COVID deaths."
  • "The LTSS [long-term services and supports] direct care workforce is in a state of crisis, and this crisis is especially acute in rural areas," states a policy brief from the University of Minnesota Rural Health Research Center . "Access .. will not be an option for all rural older adults unless policies are put into place to support LTSS in rural areas and the direct care workforce."
  • "Appropriate outpatient specialty care could improve the quality of medical care in nursing homes, but accessing specialty care may be difficult for residents. Understanding potential gaps in specialty care can inform interventions to facilitate appropriate specialty care use," write the authors of a new study finding that use of specialty care falls significantly after people enter nursing homes.