Geriatric assessment service fills critical need in Kearney

by Vicky Cerino, UNMC public relations | June 28, 2013

Image with caption: The UNMC College of Nursing's Mobile Nurse Managed Clinic.

The UNMC College of Nursing's Mobile Nurse Managed Clinic.

The UNMC College of Nursing held an open house recently to introduce a unique service launched in Kearney in collaboration with Good Samaritan Hospital and area health providers who care for older adults with complicated health issues.

The college showcased the comprehensive geriatric assessment service provided through its Mobile Nurse Managed Clinic during an open house at the Peterson Senior Activity Center in Yanney Heritage Park.

Comprehensive geriatric assessments are thorough medical evaluations that assess a patient's physical, mental, social and environmental status. They include assessments of a host of issues, including:

  • memory problems;
  • depression;
  • incontinence;
  • hearing;
  • vision;
  • malnutrition;
  • weight loss;
  • falls; and
  • unsafe living environments.

The service will help fill a critical need for fragile older adults in rural areas whose physical or mental conditions impair their functioning. Patients can be self-referred or referred by their primary care physician, an agency or other health care providers.

The service is provided in a 38-foot customized recreational vehicle with two exam rooms, a wheelchair lift, laboratory testing equipment and EKG machines. The mobile clinic has high-definition video capability that can be used to connect to the patient's care providers for consultation anywhere in the state.

"This is an innovative and collaborative primary health care model that reaches out with a critically needed service to help vulnerable older Nebraskans in rural areas."

Claudia Chaperon, Ph.D.

The clinic is staffed by UNMC College of Nursing geriatric nurse practitioners who specialize in the care of older adults: Claudia Chaperon, Ph.D., project director and associate professor in Omaha; Rachel Fortney, lead in charge of the comprehensive geriatric assessment service and instructor in Omaha; and Nancy Meier, psychiatric and geriatric nurse practitioner and instructor at the UNMC College of Nursing in Scottsbluff.

Assessments aren't typically available to older adults living in rural areas.

"This is an innovative and collaborative primary health care model that reaches out with a critically needed service to help vulnerable older Nebraskans in rural areas," said Dr. Chaperon. "The goal is to help improve function in older adults so they can maintain or regain their independence."

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