With the grant, NYUCN students and Visiting Neighbors (VN) staff and volunteers will continue to provide home visits and health-promoting assessments to high-risk older adults living in NYU housing and the surrounding community. The grant provides funding to expand the NYU-Visiting Neighbors partnership, funding years two and three of their program, “Healthy Aging Collaboration: A Social Ecology Model.”

Image: "Visiting Neighbors" web page

New York University College of Nursing (NYUCN) has been awarded a two-year $200K grant from The Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels Foundation in support of the Healthy Aging Collaboration, in which NYUCN students and Visiting Neighbors (VN) staff and volunteers will continue to provide home visits and health-promoting assessments to high-risk older adults living in NYU housing and the surrounding community. The grant provides funding to expand the NYU-Visiting Neighbors partnership, funding years two and three of their program, “Healthy Aging Collaboration: A Social Ecology Model.”

“The Healthy Aging Collaboration will help older adults living in NYU housing, whether affiliated with NYU or not, to continue to live safely, confidently, and independently in their homes,” said Program Director Dr. James C. Pace, Senior Associate Dean for Academic Programs and Clinical Professor at NYUCN. “This will help our older adults to better identify their healthcare needs and the resources that are available to them; help foster their independence; and help relieve the isolation experienced by many who may live alone--or who may be caregivers--by providing numerous opportunities for socialization and recreational activities.”

The Healthy Aging Collaboration began in fall 2014 in Washington Square Village, a four-building, NYU-owned apartment complex which houses faculty members and/or their spouses, graduate students, and residents who are not directly affiliated with NYU. Of the 300 or so older adults who live in Washington Square Village, two-thirds are not affiliated with NYU. During the Planning Year, the VN-NYUCN team developed procedures and determined how to best deliver services that enhance the health and safety of older adults living in NYU-owned housing and the surrounding community.

“What makes the Healthy Aging Collaboration unique is the interprofessional partnership between an institution of higher education and a community non-profit organization that facilitates the coordination of community health services, with the goal of helping older adults age in place,” said Dr. Michelle Eaton” NYUCN clinical faculty member. “Numerous studies have substantiated that home care is far more cost-effective than nursing home care, even when the cost of in-home assistance is included.”

VN staff will coordinate volunteers' visits with homebound seniors to reduce their loneliness and isolation, will provide volunteers to assist the seniors getting to medical appointments and help with shopping, provide information and referrals to needed services and health advocacy to encourage the seniors to take care of their health.

"Visiting Neighbors collaboration with NYU’s College of Nursing (NYUCN) provides an unparalleled opportunity that benefits our seniors, the nursing students, our dedicated volunteers and our professional staff,” said Dr. Cynthia Maurer, VN's Executive Director.

The grant enables VN to partner with NYUCN to extending their capacity to serve the rapidly growing number of seniors who are calling on VN for help, especially the most elderly, whose needs tend to be more complex and are especially vulnerable.

"We are very proud of the reputation we have earned over the past 44 years as a trusted community resource and experts in aging issues,” said Dr. Maurer. “This innovative collaboration is a "win-win" for our seniors, for the nursing students, for our agency and for the community. One unanticipated benefit we have heard from our seniors is how much it means to them to have a positive impact on the nursing students' education. We are thrilled and honored that The Samuels Foundation has approved the continuation of this initiative and believe that together we will help many people."

In coordination with primary care providers, VNSNY, a referral partner, will administer in-home care as needed. The New York Academy of Medicine will play an advisory role through its Age Friendly NYC program, contributing tools and resources and assisting in the dissemination of project findings.

Now currently in Year Two (2) of the project, the partners have officially launched the Collaboration, and continue to serve older adults and achieve improved health outcomes. The project will be expanded to two additional NYU-owned buildings, and in Year Three (3) of the project, Silver School of Social Work (SSSW) students will be added to the team to conduct client assessments and visits. Referral partners such as Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY) will provide clinical placements for NYUCN students studying community health and provide hands-on, in-home healthcare when warranted.

“This collaboration benefits both those it serves and those who provide care,” said Dr. Pace. “In particular, College of Nursing students (and in year three, SSSW students) gain practical experience working with older adults in community settings, which enhances their education and sensitizes them to the complex needs of the senior population. With regular contact, professionals, volunteers, and students will become well acquainted with the older adults, enabling them to assess changes in their health status, mood, and functional abilities so that needed services can be provided in a proactive and timely fashion.”

Recognizing that healthy aging is about more than tending to physical needs, the project partners will convene residents, NYUCN faculty and students, and Visiting Neighbors’ staff and volunteers to provide training and information about aging independently, emergency preparedness, and general wellness. These events will provide opportunities for older adults and project partners to connect and get to know each other better, reinforcing the bonds that sustain people in normal times and during times of crisis.

“The Healthy Aging Collaboration lends itself to the possibility of other collaborations with NYUCN students, perhaps to include a clinical placement for Nurse Practitioner graduate students focusing on mental health nursing,” said Dr. Pace. “Additionally, NYUCN Doctor of Nursing Practice students have the option of developing evidence-based proposals for their DNP project serving this population.”

About The Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, Inc.
The Foundation was established by Fan Fox Samuels, originally of Hartford, CT, and her husband, Leslie R. Samuels, originally of Ogden and Salt Lake City, UT. They married and moved to NYC in 1940, where they lived together for over forty years. They were great patrons of the performing arts, and they firmly believed that their wealth should be used to make New York a better place to live and work. The Foundation has consistently supported the performing arts, and has devoted substantial resources to health and social service programs that will improve the lives of New Yorkers. About the Healthy Aging Program: The mission of the Foundation's health care program is to improve the health care and overall quality of life for the elderly of New York City. Our success will be measured by the positive impact that the program has on people's lives.

About New York University College of Nursing
NYU College of Nursing is a global leader in nursing education, research, and practice. It offers a Bachelor of Science with major in Nursing, a Master of Science and Post-Master’s Certificate Programs, a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree and a Doctor of Philosophy in Research Theory and Development. For more information, visit https://nursing.nyu.edu/

About Visiting Neighbors

"Neighbors Helping Neighbors" has been the guiding concept behind our organization since our founding in 1972 by eight Greenwich Village community members. Today, our professional staff and more than 400 dedicated volunteers help over 1,000 seniors each year. Our programs and services help seniors maintain their independence, by connecting them to someone who cares.  Our volunteer visitors help seniors alleviate loneliness and isolation, provide emotional security and offer mental stimulation. We escort seniors to medical appointments, assist with errands and shopping, and reach out a helping hand to our community's elderly who may have no family or friends nearby. We pride ourselves on the individual attention we give to every senior and volunteer. Our friendly visiting program has enriched the lives of both seniors and volunteers for more than four decades.


About NYU Silver School of Social Work

The mission of the Silver School of Social Work at New York University is to educate professionals in a global perspective for social work practice with individuals, families, groups, and communities and to provide leadership in the development of knowledge relevant to social work practice in complex urban environments.  The School seeks to fulfill its mission by building and transmitting knowledge that is grounded in empirical research, and that will help to alleviate human suffering, enhance the vitality and caring capacity of communities, and promote the ideals of a humane and just world.


About the Visiting Nurse Service of New York

The Visiting Nurse Service of New York is the largest not-for-profit home health care agency in the United States, and we’re one of the oldest. We’ve been part of the fabric of New York City since 1893. The Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY) delivers skilled nursing care, rehabilitation therapy, and behavioral health therapy for short-term care wherever our patients call home (i.e., an apartment, house, nursing home, etc.). We provide a wide variety of programs to support families, parents and children; family caregivers; and those at the end of life. VNSNY also provides free support and education to seniors and caregivers, such as through public health screenings for flu and high blood pressure and seminars for preventing falls.

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Christopher James
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