Thursday, July 12, 2007
This presentation is part of : Aging Population Health Strategies
The Neighborhood Health Advocate Program: Maintaining Elders in their Home
Barbara Pieper, PhD, RN, Nursing, The Sage Colleges, Troy, NY, USA
Learning Objective #1: describe the development of an inner city faith-based initiative for older adults through community partnerships.
Learning Objective #2: describe evaluation strategies for early program development

Purpose: Sustaining and supporting older adults, particularly the frail elderly in their homes and communities continues to challenge traditional health care systems. NHAP developed from the recommendations of a NYS Office of Aging’s John A. Hartford aging prepared community planning grant, and a desire from the community’s physician/minister all of which identified a need to provide better access to services for elders as a way to age in place. This paper reports on the results of an interdisciplinary best practice initiative involving partnerships with the faith communities, community agencies and universities to provide a link for an economically disadvantaged , largely African American community to existing health and social services .The program’s primary resources are its lay advocates: older adults from the area churches who sever as links into the community, identifying residents in need and helping professionals gain entry into the community. Strategies on establishing the program in the inner city and how to develop and support the lay advocates in their role were also developed. This initiative incorporated ideas and support from community health nurses, public health workers, ministers, police officers and a wide range of community people.

Method:  The program evaluation over a 3 year period includes both quantitative and qualitative data. Annual interviews with lay advocates, vignettes of “ neighbors” served, notes from staff meetings and the program coordinator as well as program service records on neighbors served were analyzed.

Results & Conclusion:  Outcomes show a positive effect in the community including interventions which made a difference in people’s lives as well as the positive impact on well elders. Results also highlight the difficulty in accessing services for this group, as well as the effect on the lay advocates themselves. Limitations of program evaluation for programs like NHAP as well as lessons learned are also described.