The National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) hosted a Town Hall meeting in Chicago, IL on Friday, June 7 as part of the Future of Nursing: 2020-2030 project. The Future of Nursing project aims to “chart a path for the nursing profession to help our nation create a culture of health, reduce health disparities, and improve the health and wellbeing of the U.S. population in the 21st century.” Together with their Future of Nursing Campaign for Action and information about the latest in science and technology, they will put together a final report to assess “the capacity of the profession to meet the anticipated health and social care demands from 2020 to 2030.”
The Town Hall focused on “Integrating Social Determinants of Health into Nursing Education, Research and Practice.” At the meeting, sixteen speakers represented academic institutions, state nursing boards, and provider organizations. During the presentations, only one speaker mentioned long-term or post-acute care nursing. That provider, Promedica, referenced HCR ManorCare as a subsidiary organization providing such services. It was evident that long-term and post-acute care needed more representation and recognition.
AAPACN President and CEO, Tracey Moorhead, attended the Town Hall and was invited to offer public comment. Moorhead urged the Future of Nursing committee to include a discussion of the role of geriatric nursing in long-term and post-acute care in the final report. Moorhead noted for the committee that by 2030, the U.S. population is projected to include more than 60 million Americans over 70 years of age and that we do not currently have the workforce to support this population.
In fact, in the 2019 AADNS Director of Nursing Services Work Study and Salary Report, 75% of nurse leader respondents noted staff shortages as a challenge of their job duties and 63% listed adequate staffing (having an adequate number of staff to properly care for residents considering the acuity) as a challenge within the Nursing department.
During the meeting, Moorhead also cited the need for post-acute care residency programs and the role of continuing education opportunities in developing the necessary workforce. Residency programs can better prepare new graduate nurses for the complexity of long-term care in hopes of improving nurse retention and satisfaction. Continuing education opportunities help to ensure new graduate nurses as well as seasoned long-term and post-acute care professionals are always up to date on the most recent evidence-based practices.
Specific to the topic of social determinants, Moorhead urged the committee to include a recommendation for the development of valid assessment tools for geriatric patients. Finding any assessment tools specific to the geriatric population can be challenging. One reason for this, Moorhead cited, is the unique social determinants of health for the elderly population, such as social isolation, social participation, and loneliness. With the growing number of elderly patients, these evidence-based tools are needed more than ever.
The Future of Nursing committee will hold two additional Town Hall Meetings later this summer in Philadelphia and Seattle. A final report is expected in late 2019.
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