OCT. 21, 2004 | In the future, a healing touch could be uniquely designed to heal faster, due in part to a $1.5 million grant to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) College of Nursing.
The five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health will allow UAMS to create the Center for Research on Tailored Biobehavioral Interventions, a program designed to study individualized patient care based on the patient’s unique characteristics. The goal is to create data that can help nurses and other health care providers develop recovery plans best suited to the individual patients and ultimately shorten recovery time and/or increase the quality of life for the patient.
“What may be good for one patient may be harmful for another,” said Kathy Richards, Ph.D., R.N., director of the new center. Richards is a professor in the UAMS College of Nursing and a research health scientist for the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System. “Standardized care isn’t always appropriate care.”
For example, she said, for many years the standard in nursing has been to turn patients from their backs to their sides at a set time to prevent bedsores. The problem is that many patients need sleep more than they need to be turned.
“Somehow we lost the focus on sleep because we were so focused on preventing bedsores,” she said. “By tailoring the amount of time between turnings to the individual, patients will sleep better, won’t get bedsores and ultimately will recover faster.”
Richards said individualized care has been an important issue since the days of Florence Nightingale, but there has been little research in the area. By researching how people of different ages, genders, races, overall health and other factors respond to types of care, it is possible to cater that care to provide the best recovery.
The center will provide education; consultation and mentoring for investigators; facilitate the development, conduct and dissemination of findings from pilot studies; and help develop proposals for additional funding through the Pilot Studies and the Administrative Cores. Cornelia Beck, Ph.D., RN, professor in the UAMS College of Medicine is director and Jean McSweeney, Ph.D., RN, professor in the UAMS College of Nursing, is co-director of the Pilot Studies Core. Linda Hodges, Ed.D., R.N., professor and Dean of the UAMS College of Nursing, is co-director of the Administrative Core. The pilot studies for the first year of the grant have been selected, but Richards said they will be looking at proposals for future years.
The pilot studies approved for the first year of the grant are:
- Constructing an Explanatory Model of Child Sexual Abuse. Investigator Louanne Lawson, Ph.D., R.N., assistant professor in the UAMS College of Nursing, will use data from a random selection of child sexual abusers to determine if there are similarities and possibly prevent future incidents of abuse.
- Assessing Osteoarthritic Pain in Elders with Dementia. Investigator Paofeng Tsai, Ph.D., R.N., assistant professor in the College of Nursing, will look into using an observational instrument to determine the amount of pain from arthritis in the knee and hip of elderly people in two study groups, one with dementia and one without, to determine if they can use the observational measures to assess pain in patients with dementia.
- Outcomes of Individualized Computer Activities for Women with Osteoarthritis. Investigator Sunghee Tak, Ph.D., R.N. will examine if individualized recreational activity with a computer for an hour a day will help increase activity, relieve stress and improve nighttime sleep in arthritic women with depression. The study will take place with low-income women living in high-rise apartment units.
“The UAMS College of Nursing outshone several other prestigious institutions to receive the grant,” Richards said. The college has a solid research base that includes a 15-year history of conducting research on individualized nursing interventions.
Links on This Page
National Institutes of Health http://www.nih.gov/
UAMS College of Nursing http://nursing.uams.edu/