Colorado Visiting Nurse Association (Colorado VNA) announced today that it is partnering with John Hopkins University to pilot Community Aging in Place, Advancing Better Living for Elders or CAPABLE. This marks the first time that CAPABLE will be implemented in a community-based setting. Colorado VNA was awarded grants totaling $215,000 by the Colorado Health Foundation, the Comprecare Fund, and an anonymous individual to commence the two-year project.
CAPABLE is a five month program that prioritizes the needs of older adults. Teams comprised of an occupational therapist, a registered nurse, and a handyman help low-income, older adults identify and achieve self-care goals such as walking to their mailbox or sleeping in an upstairs bedroom instead of on a downstairs couch. Goals for the program include adapting the home to the needs of the older adult and making the home safer by home modifications, which can decrease hospitalization and nursing home utilization. To address these goals, CAPABLE focuses on the home environment as well as the strengths and resources of the older adults themselves.
The bottom line: CAPABLE improves outcomes for patients. In a population of low-income older adults on Medicaid and Medicare who participated in CAPABLE, 79 percent of CAPABLE participants improved their self-care over the course of five months, according to data from the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. The average CAPABLE participant reduced the impact of their disability by 50%. (i.e., the number of self-care tasks that were rated as difficult for the participant were cut in half). Participants experienced an improvement in depressive symptoms similar to the effect of taking an anti-depressant medicine. Preliminary results also suggest that CAPABLE can reduce inpatient costs by an average of 34%, further demonstrating the model’s effectiveness. “Preventive support to help the elderly remain in their homes with health and safety is a vital. People love it and health care costs are reduced - a win-win solution for everyone,” states the anonymous supporter of the project.
Sarah Szanton, professor of nursing and of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing said “We are thrilled that the Colorado Visiting Nurse Association is building on our years of clinical trials with CAPABLE. And that they are placing it within a home health context, poised to prove that it improves the health of older Coloradans and saves money for the participants and the healthcare payers.”
Colorado VNA’s CAPABLE staff are currently receiving their program training and vetting home repair contractors in preparation for an April launch of the program. “The CAPABLE Program is a natural fit for our mission as our team works relentlessly every day to keep people at home and out of the hospital. We are ecstatic to be pioneering this program here in Colorado,” states Amanda Goodenow, Colorado VNA’s CAPABLE project manager.
About Colorado VNA
Colorado Visiting Nurse Association (Colorado VNA) is a nonprofit, Medicare-certified home health organization founded in 1889. Its mission is to provide a continuum of health care in the home and community that supports optimal well-being, independence, and dignity. The organization’s comprehensive array of health services spans all levels of intensity of care for individuals, communities, and businesses. Colorado VNA has also developed innovative community programs to help seniors age-in-place. For more information, visit www.vnacolorado.org.
About the CAPABLE Program
The Community Aging in Place, Advancing Better Living for Elders (CAPABLE) program, developed by the John Hopkins University School of Medicine and funded by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, aims to reduce the impact of disability among low-income older adults by addressing individual capacities and the home environment. For more information, visit www.nursing.jhu.edu/capable.
About the Colorado Health Foundation
The Colorado Health Foundation works to make Colorado the healthiest state in the nation by ensuring that all Colorado kids are fit and healthy and that all Coloradans achieve stable, affordable and adequate health coverage to improve their health with support from a network of primary health care and community services. To advance our mission, the Foundation engages the community through grant making, public policy and advocacy, private sector engagement, strategic communications, evaluation for learning and assessment and by operating primary care residency training programs. For more information, please visit www.coloradohealth.org.