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October 7, 2004 • Volume 13 Number 3

Adele Pike will direct the Center for Excellence in Home Care Practice and Education.

Home Care Center Established

Connell School, Visiting Nurse Association to collaborate on initiative

By Kathleen Sullivan
Staff Writer

At a time when patients spend less time in hospitals and demand grows for alternative forms of health care, the William F. Connell School of Nursing and the Visiting Nurse Association of Boston have formed a partnership to promote home care practice.

A Sept. 29 reception in Cushing Hall formally marked the establishment of the Center for Excellence in Home Care Practice and Education, which will be directed by Adele Pike, who holds a joint appointment with the Connell School and the VNAB and will split her time between the two.

The center's goals are to improve patient outcomes by advancing home care practice, through applying current research findings and best practice standards; to educate, recruit and retain a home care nursing workforce; and to support the development of a home care clinical specialty program at the Connell School.

"People are now receiving very important, sophisticated care in their homes and we want to get our students ready for the field of home care and to make them enthusiastic about it," said CSON Dean Barbara Hazard Munro.

Pike said, "This collaboration is a wonderful opportunity to bring together the visiting nurses' expertise from doing with BC faculty's expertise from research. We can work together to help families and patients with chronic illness avoid the revolving door of hospital visits."

The demand for nursing care in the home continues to escalate, according to the center's organizers. Shorter hospital stays have increased the number of ill and recovering patients in homes, while the number of persons suffering from chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and heart or lung disease, has grown.

"Home, we have found, is where sick and recovering people want to be," said Pike.

The Visiting Nurse Association of Boston is a non-profit, community-based, home health care agency and one of the oldest and largest visiting nurse associations in the Northeast. It provides nursing, rehabilitation and home health aide services to nearly 15,000 patients each year.

The collaboration, say organizers, will benefit VNAB nurses and Connell School faculty and students, as well as the patients. VNAB staff will have access to Boston College's nurse experts in disease and symptom management, patient teaching, program measurement and evaluation, and application of technology in patient teaching and staff education. The center also will provide the VNAB nurses with opportunities to advance their clinical practice.

Through the partnership, Boston College nursing faculty will have a clinical site for educating students about home care and for carrying out research projects.

"We already have undergraduates and graduate students in clinical settings through the VNAB this semester," said Asst. Prof. Rosanna DeMarco (CSON), who served on the committee to develop the center along with Munro, Pike, CSON associate professors Anne Norris and Ronna Krozy, and VNAB staff.

"Having Boston College nursing students reaching out to VNAB patients is in keeping with the Jesuit mission of the University. [The VNAB's] clientele is often poor and critically or chronically ill. I like to think of our nursing students as ambassadors of justice."

Munro said, "This is really exciting. I'm thrilled to have a professional like Adele here at BC. This is the first step in creating a great collaborative partnership."

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