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Senior publishes article on communication for elder care in the home

Patrick Smith adds to growing body of literature related to health care communication 


Patrick Smith, a senior and Presidential Scholar from Melrose, Mass., collaborated on a research study that has been published in the February issue of the Journal of Clinical Nursing.  In the summer of 2014, after completing his sophomore year in nursing, Patrick applied for was accepted into the Public Health Leadership and Learning Undergraduate Student Success (PLLUSS) Program at Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Md. Through PLLUSS, Patrick participated in a 3-day orientation program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta; attended seminars on public health research and advocacy methods; and was paired with Dr. Sarah Szanton, a faculty mentor at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, to conduct an independent research study using existing data from her ongoing research.

His recently published article, “Communication between office-based primary care providers and nurses working within patients’ homes: an analysis of process data from CAPABLE,” examines communication between primary care providers and the home-care nurses who are working with patients to achieve patient-driven functional goals. Community Aging in Place: Advancing Better Living for Elders’ (CAPABLE), Dr. Szanton’s primary research project, seeks to identify strategies to enhance patients’ independence by focusing on interdisciplinary collaboration, functional improvement, and holistic care in the home setting. According to Patrick, who has a strong passion for public health, “this project has the tremendous capacity to leverage public policy and nursing innovation to promote quality of life and cost-effective care.”

Patrick’s research study identified chief concerns of patients and nurses that prompted communication with primary care providers and demonstrated that various methods of contact, such as telephone calls, written letters, and client coaching, show promise for addressing specific types of communication needs. Moreover, Patrick’s work adds to a growing body of literature that has highlighted the importance of effective communication in addressing medication safety, pain control, fall risks, and changes in activities of daily living.

Asked about the significance of this accomplishment and his experience in the PLLUSS program, Patrick says, “I am incredibly grateful for the mentorship I have experienced through the PLLUSS program. I continue to work with Dr. Szanton on projects related to CAPABLE, and I look forward to applying the skills and knowledge that I have gained through this experience - and all of my experiences as an undergraduate - to my future work in health and development.”

Communication between office-based primary care providers and nurses working within patients’ homes: an analysis of process data from CAPABLE

Patrick D Smith, Cynthia Boyd, Julia Bellantoni, Jill Roth, Kathleen L Becker, Jessica Savage, Manka Nkimbeng and Sarah L Szanton

Journal of Clinical Nursing, 25, 454–462, doi: 10.1111/jocn.13073