Ohio State University partnership creates geriatric residency program at National Church Residences

Sarah Kidd horiz

Sarah Kidd, a recent graduate of Ohio State University with a doctorate in physical therapy, is the first-ever resident specializing in geriatrics in a new partnership program between Ohio State and National Church Residences. Here she provides physical therapy to a resident at First Community Village.

By LANCE CRANMER                                                    lcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org

COLUMBUS – Last summer National Church Residences began a partnership with Ohio State University to create a geriatric physical therapy residency program.

“Ohio State needed a partner for the geriatric residency so they asked us if we would partner with them,” said Sarah Dalton Ortlieb, National Church Residences Vice President of Rehabilitation Services. “We get to cultivate an expert in the field.”

The first resident in the program is Sarah Kidd, who began the program at First Community Village in July 2016.

“They’re helping me prepare to be a credited specialist,” said Kidd, whose residency program runs through July 2017. “I get to experience the geriatric spectrum in one year.”

“This residency is a geriatric specialization,” said Ortlieb. “Sarah, our resident, is a licensed physical therapist who has graduated with her doctorate from Ohio State. This program is an extra year, similar to what a physician would do. She’s elected to do this residency to become a specialist in geriatrics.”

Kidd’s year-long learning experience is a rarity in her field.

“Most physical therapists who are working in geriatrics don’t have this kind of specialization,” Ortlieb said. “There aren’t many opportunities around the country for people to go through geriatric residency.”

In this program, Kidd will get to experience multiple facets of geriatric care specializations, allowing her to obtain experience in all areas of the field.

“This is great for my development,” Kidd said. “There are various geriatric settings. This allows me to figure out where I do thrive and what I struggle with. Every day and every week is different.”

Last summer Kidd spent most of her time at First Community Village, while also doing lab work and student teaching at Ohio State. In early 2017 she began moving into work with a greater focus on Home Health.

“She’ll be there for a few months learning that type of practice,” said Ortlieb. “The last couple months of her residency will be geared toward outpatient care at First Community and wellness at our Centers for Senior Health.”

The residency program also includes mentoring opportunities, didactic (specific education content) work, and a researched case study that will likely be published in medical journals.

“Its wonderful training and career development in one year,” Kidd said. “I just love that the residency gives me mentoring opportunities. I have these experts around me that I can discuss things with.”

When Kidd’s residency is complete it is possible that she could come to work for National Church Residences full-time.
“If they would hire me, I would want to,” she said.

Ortlieb said that in the long term it is her goal to be able to recruit the people who go through the residency – which is limited to one per year – to join the organization.

“We’re doing great things for our mission of helping seniors and for us, we want to be able to cultivate a long-term potential recruiting pool,” she said.

Molina Healthcare brings cooking club to Champion

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Molina Healthcare’s Dr. Cleo poses for a picture with the children at Champion Intergenerational Enrichment and Education Center in Columbus.

By LANCE CRANMER                                                                     lcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org

COLUMBUS – Dr. Cleo made his first house call to the Champion Intergenerational Enrichment and Education Center in Columbus last week to introduce healthier eating habits for children and seniors.

“This was an event to introduce Molina Healthcare here in the community,” said TaKeysha Sheppard Cheney, the Director of Community Engagement for Molina. “It was a great opportunity to connect with seniors and with kids at a very young age and to be able to educate the public about healthy eating habits.”

Dr. Cleo, Molina’s furry cat doctor mascot, hosts Dr. Cleo’s Cooking Club at various events around the country. His visit to Champion was his first-ever visit to Columbus.

A pair of dieticians presented healthy eating options to the seniors and children, who then, with the help of volunteers from The Ohio State University, got to build their own healthy lunch out of whole grain tortillas, hummus, veggies and turkey.

“The cooking club appeals to both kids and adults,” Cheney said. “The dieticians are Molina employees. And it was great to have volunteers here with us from Ohio State.

“Partnering with National Church Residences is a great opportunity. That collaboration is really important.”

Cheney added that in a time where health care concerns are a hot topic it is important for Molina Healthcare – one of Ohio’s five Medicaid providers – to connect directly with the public.

“People need to know what their options are and what programs they can take advantage of,” she said. “We want to help them better understand health insurance benefits. It can be very difficult for the average customer to understand. We want to try to answer questions and establish that relationship with the community. We want to communicate and build trust.”

The cooking club was well-attended by both the seniors and children who attend Champion, an intergenerational day care center where senior citizens and young children interact on a daily basis through learning programs designed by Ohio State University, Columbus Early Learning Centers and National Church Residences.

(Have a story to share with National Church Residences? Contact Lance Cranmer at 614-273-3809 or e-mail lcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org.)

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Molina Healthcare’s Dr. Cleo meets with seniors at Champion.

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A dietician with Molina Healthcare speaks with children at Champion Intergenerational Enrichment and Education Center about healthy eating habits.

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Ohio State doctoral student pioneers study on resilience with National Church Residences

Matthew Fullen and Ohio State University President Michael V. Drake at a ceremony recognizing the Schweitzer Fellowship.

Matthew Fullen and Ohio State University President Michael V. Drake at a ceremony recognizing the Schweitzer Fellowship.

By LANCE CRANMER                                          lcranmer@nationalchurchresidences.org

COLUMBUS – Working in the mental health field and specializing in providing care for aging adults, Matthew Fullen began to notice a recurring theme.

“A lot of health care is focused on dealing with physical concerns that older adults express,” he said. “Other psychological, emotional and spiritual concerns are made into second-class citizens.”

A doctoral student at the Ohio State University College of Education and Human Ecology, Fullen was awarded with an Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, and used his sponsorship to create a study on resilience that he brought to National Church Residences.

“I reached out to Dan Fagan (Vice President of Home and Community Services) and Terri Allton (Senior Vice President of Home and Community Services) and they were both supportive,” Fullen said. “The three of us identified the Adult Day Center on Livingston Avenue as a great place to pilot some of these new ideas.”

The project had two prongs: first, to focus on acknowledging the staff at the facility and finding their individual strengths, and second, to work with the clients and talk to them about what it means to be resilient.

“Sometimes we don’t recognize that in older adults,” Fullen said. “We don’t give them a chance to notice the ways they’ve been resilient.”

Thirty clients at National Church Residences Livingston Avenue Center for Senior Health in Columbus, Ohio, participated in the nine-week program with Fullen and Sean Gorby, a fellow Ph. D student at OSU and the co-facilitator and co-researcher.

“We allowed clients to talk about ways they’ve been resilient and to hear stories from other clients there who have also demonstrated resilience,” Fullen said. “The way we implemented it was by framing our discussion through different areas of wellness. What about physical wellness? Next week, how have you been resilient through relationships? We cycled through several categories that allowed people to think about resilience in a way that was holistic. They were able to think about ways they’ve been resilient in their lives and it broadened their picture of resilience.”

The more the clients began to participate, the more excited they became for each weekly session.

“We had some really lively discussions,” Fullen said. “At the start of every Friday there was a palpable energy in the room. People were excited to talk about their lives, the challenges they’ve been facing and the ways they’ve been resilient.”

“It has really helped me because you know your situation but you find that others … we’re different but we’re all alike,” said an 83-year old Livingston client who participated in the study. “I’ve learned a whole lot, and it’s just a blessing being together and everybody sharing what’s happened to them or what is happening to them and to know that you’re not alone.”

The participants in the study ranged from 59 to 94 years old with the average age being 78. Eighty percent were African-American and more than half were both Medicare and Medicaid eligible.

After the nine week study concluded, 96 percent of participants reported enjoying the class and feeling a higher level of wellness and 92 percent said they felt generally happier than they previously had.

“Many individuals said they had no idea what some of the other folks in the room had been through and that allowed them to really appreciate their own resilience,” Fullen said.

In working with the staff, Fullen organized a “SPA Day” with SPA meaning “Strengthening Pride in Aging.”

“It was a way of giving the staff a chance to be celebrated,” he said. “We had massage therapists, a catered luncheon, and they learned about each other’s strength inventories. And in some follow-up surveys, 100 percent said it was helpful … and it made them feel proud of their work at Livingston and that they would recommend the strengths assessments to their friends.”

Fullen’s decision to bring his research proposals to a National Church Residences facility did not happen by chance. A decade before, he had been employed by the organization in a much different role that allowed him to work directly with aging adults in a time of need.

“It really started in 2005 when I worked for National Church Residences. That started me down this path that, now, 10 years later I am very committed to. I see it as a calling,” said Fullen, who worked as a Relocation Coordinator, helping residents transition into temporary homes during periods where National Church Residences facilities are being renovated. “It was a brilliant way to put a human touch on the whole relocation process. It gave me a lot of opportunities to interact with older adults in a time of somewhat crisis for them. That was a lot of built-in practice in helping even think about overcoming adversity. When you’re in your 70s and thinking you’re never going to move again, that requires some convincing.”

After a few years with the organization, Fullen chose to go back to school.

“I got my Master’s Degree in clinical counseling and another in Divinity. Really my professional focus has been thinking about how to help older adults maximize satisfaction with the feelings that come with aging,” he said. “I help them think about again and see it as an opportunity to grow and continue to be involved in their families and their communities.”

Later, when Fullen had the chance to study his ideas through the Schweitzer Fellowship, the 32-year old Hilliard, Ohio-native, knew National Church Residences would be the perfect partner.

“It’s been a privilege to work alongside National Church Residences,” he said. “National Church Residences is a leader in thinking innovatively about how to navigate the aging process.”

The results of the research will eventually be compiled into a manuscript and will be published.

“We hope this will lead to other opportunities to replicate this study at other sites,” Fullen said. “Currently I’m in some conversations with National Church Residences about how to expand this program and how to continue the positive momentum that’s taken place at Livingston.”

Fullen said that focusing his education through the years on not only health care but also religion has been a blessing.

“That fit so well with this resilience idea,” he said. “You look at how people’s bodies are changing and it’s easy to be discouraged. But you look at a whole person, their spiritual vitalogy, and you see aging as something not to be afraid of. It can be very hopeful. You think about again in new ways that can be very important to all of us. We’re all going to go through it at some point.”

Matthew Fullen with National Church Residences Vice President of Home and Community Services Dan Fagan.

Matthew Fullen with National Church Residences Vice President of Home and Community Services Dan Fagan.