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Hillman Foundation Announces 2016 Innovations in Care Winners

by: Linda Le | Sun, Nov 6, 2016 |

Two nursing-driven programs that provide home and community-based care for vulnerable populations with advanced illness receive $600,000 to expand and sustain efforts

The Rita & Alex Hillman Foundation has announced the 2016 recipients of the Hillman Innovations in Care Program, a multi-year initiative funding leading edge, nursing-driven programs that address the healthcare needs of vulnerable populations.  The winning projects – a telehospice program serving rural western North Carolina, and an advanced illness care program supporting the communities served by African-American churches in Alameda County, CA – were selected from a diverse field of over 160 applicants. The Foundation’s Advisory Committee praised the grant recipients for their creative approaches to addressing some of healthcare’s most intractable challenges, and for their efforts to meet the triple aim goals of improving health, reducing costs, and improving the patient and caregiver experience.
"This year’s grant recipients are potential game changers,” said Ahrin Mishan, Executive Director of the Hillman Foundation. "Each person-centered, community-focused program is uniquely positioned to make a national impact on the care of underserved populations with advanced illnesses.” 
The grantees, who will each receive a $600,000 three-year grant, are:
Four Seasons Compassion for Life, Flat Rock, North Carolina (Principal Investigator: Michelle Webb, MSN, RN, CHPCA) The grant will leverage Four Season's federally funded telepalliative care model to develop a program providing remote, in-home hospice services to people in western North Carolina.  Four Seasons serves a number of rural, low-income counties in a geography and climate that does not allow for consistent, coordinated health care and poses numerous challenges for nurses charged with regular hospice care home visits.
Hillman funds will be used to improve patient and family satisfaction and health outcomes by implementing a care management portal to be used in conjunction with the telehospice program. Specially trained nurses will seek to efficiently and cost effectively provide hospice care by remotely addressing symptom and pain management, medication adherence, advance care planning, and spiritual and psychosocial needs. Visits will be conducted using TapCloud, a HIPAA-compliant app, and a web-based video conferencing service. Patients or their caregivers (including long-distance caregivers) will enter information on symptoms and medication use via patient portal software, and nurses, together with the hospice team, will use this information, along with online vital sign measurement, to monitor progress, adjust treatments, and determine when in-person visits are needed. 
“Telehospice is a promising care delivery innovation that can enhance communication among caregivers and the care team, and improve the hospice experience for those most in need,” said Bobbie Berkowitz, RN, PhD, FAAN, Dean of the Columbia University School of Nursing and chair of the Foundation's Advisory Committee. “With over 35 years of award-winning experience in hospice care, Four Seasons is well equipped to implement and lead this effort.”
University of California, Davis – Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing (Principal Investigators: Janice Bell, RN, MN, MPH, PhD, UC Davis and Rev. Cynthia Carter-Perrilliat, MPA, Alameda County Care Alliance) Hillman funding will be used to expand, evaluate, and sustain the Advanced Illness Care Program (AICP), a faith-based, nursing-driven intervention developed in partnership with the Alameda County Care Alliance and the Public Health Institute.  Since its inception in 2013, the program has trained and placed care navigators in five African-American church communities in Oakland, California. The care navigators provide referrals and care not only to congregants and their caregivers, but to persons with advanced illness in the community.  Care navigators offer support with basic needs such as food, housing, or transportation, and help people access social services, spiritual support, respite care, palliative care and hospice care, and complete advance care plans. The intervention includes a baseline home visit and assessment, follow-up visits, and additional telephone support.

“People often turn to their faith community for support in times of need, and the AICP has been successful in filling the gaps in conventional healthcare by utilizing the inherent trust, support, and resources offered by these innovative and influential hub churches,” said Rachael Watman, Vice President of Programs at the Hillman Foundation. “This program capitalizes on the strengths of three partners: UC Davis (evaluation), Alameda County Care Alliance (for their work in the African-American church community), and the Public Health Institute (for their expertise in program development and implementation) to increase the alignment between end-of-life goals and the care received. Looking forward, the data collected to date and ongoing evaluation will be used to engage payers, providers, and policy makers to develop a blueprint to scale and sustain the model across the U.S.”
The team will use the funding to double the impact of the program, expanding the program to three additional church communities, and enrolling an additional 500 congregants, community members, and family caregivers. Funding will also be used to train additional care navigators and volunteer care ministers, to promote the program through community outreach, and to continue to support ongoing data collection that has provided evidence of the program’s success. Partnerships with Kaiser Permanente and the Washington DC-based C-TAC (Coalition to Transform Advanced Care) will contribute to the spread and scale of the model.
About the Hillman Innovations in Care Program
The goal of the Hillman Innovations in Care Program is to advance leading edge, nursing-driven models of care that improve the health and health care of vulnerable populations, including the economically disadvantaged, racial and ethnic minorities, LGBQT, the homeless, rural populations, and other groups that encounter barriers to accessing healthcare services. The foundation is specifically interested in proposals that address maternal and child health, care of the older adult, and chronic illness management. The Foundation will accept submissions for the next round of proposals in March 2017, and will award grants again in late 2017.
Please click here for more information on the Hillman Innovations in Care Program or to access the RFP.


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