Beeber Receives $1.5 Million in R01 Funding to Improve Patient Safety in Assisted Living

Congratulations to Associate Professor Anna Beeber, PhD, RN, FAAN, who was awarded $1.5 million in research grant funding from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to improve patient safety in assisted living communities.

Assisted living, an alternative to nursing homes, provides housing, meals, 24-hour supervision, and, in some cases, health and supportive services. Unlike other healthcare settings, assisted living uses a social rather than medical model of care, emphasizing a person-centered approach. However, while assisted living strives for person-centered care, resident acuity has been rising (e.g., functional decline; dementia), creating tension between supporting autonomy and minimizing risks from medication errors, infections, falls, and injury. Thus, the core challenge of assisted living care lies in balancing person-centeredness with safety risks.

A highly promising method for achieving this balance is person and family engagement (PFE), which refers to the person and family’s desire, ability, and activation as a partner with a healthcare provider, staff member, team, or setting to maximize patient outcomes and experience of care.

With her $1.5 million, Beeber and her team will study “A Safer Assisted Living: Creating a Toolkit for Person and Family Engagement,” with three main objectives:

    1. Identify common assisted living safety problems by interviewing and surveying assisted living residents, family caregivers, and professional stakeholders.
    2. Rank these existing assisted living safety problems and evaluate existing PFE interventions, tools and strategies applied to other healthcare settings for their fit with assisted living.
    3. Develop a testable toolkit to improve assisted living safety by matching safety problems with existing PFE strategies and identifying new PFE strategies.

The three-year study will run through May 31, 2022, and will include the team members listed below.

Ruth Anderson | UNC School of Nursing
Jennifer Leeman | UNC School of Nursing
George Knafl | UNC School of Nursing
Christine Kistler | UNC School of Medicine, Department of Family Medicine
Terri Ottosen | UNC Health Sciences Library
Matthias Hoben | University of Alberta, Edmonton

Amy Vogelsmeier | University of Missouri School of Nursing
Pamela Dardess | Institute for Patient and Family-Centered Care
Lindsay Schwartz | American Health Care Association

Well done, Dr. Beeber!

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Award Number 1R01HS026473-01, Beeber (PI) 08/1/19-05/31/22, Funding: $1,500,000, “A Safer Assisted Living: Creating a Toolkit for Person and Family Engagement”