Center for Health Aging Kicks Off Health Promotion Pilot Project

10/11/00    Portland, Ore.

It's a novel health care approach for aging Oregonians -- preventive medicine. This fall Oregon Health Sciences University's new Center for Healthy Aging kicks off its 15-month demonstration project. The goals of the center are to improve the overall health of middle-aged people to senior citizens, prevent health problems before they arise, give participants more independence and increase patient satisfaction with health care services. The demonstration project, called the Healthy Aging Project, receives major funding through a grant from the Administration on Aging of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

The Healthy Aging Project will be offered first this month at OHSU's Sellwood Clinic. In November, other OHSU clinics in the Portland area will begin participation. The center is hoping to enroll at least 400 people in the study. Enrollees must be at least 55 years of age and willing to change their primary care provider. There is no cost. However, enrollees may be asked to pay for tests not covered by their insurance providers.

Participants will receive personalized health care through a team of health professionals. The team includes a primary care provider, a nurse practitioner with expertise in working with aging adults, and nurse mentors skilled in health promotion and wellness. With the guidance of their health team, patients will develop individualized goals, and receive ongoing education and support to achieve those goals. Participants also will have increased access to their health care team utilizing e-mail, the telephone and in-office visits to receive health advice and coaching.

"The center differs from traditional health care in that it is proactive, not just reactive," said William Gaynor, director of planning for the Center for Healthy Aging. "We utilize a holistic approach to offer a personalized health system based not only on each participant's current health level, but also his or her health expectations for the future."

The center will track the success of the project by measuring progress toward individual patient goals, evaluating each patient's health status, and assessing participants' opinions on the effectiveness of the project and their overall health satisfaction.

Editors: Those interested in obtaining additional information about the Healthy Aging Project can call 503 494-7757.