Experts to Discuss Health-care Challenges for Aging U.S. Population

Experts to Discuss Health-care Challenges for Aging U.S. Population

Apr 2, 2007 6:00 PM

2 Top Experts to Discuss Growing Issue of Health Care for Older U.S. Population at U Center on Aging Retreat

SALT LAKE CITY --Providing health care for an aging population is one of the major medical challenges facing the United States, and on April 10-11 two of the world's leading experts in the field will offer their insights into the subject at a University of Utah Center on Aging research retreat.

Distinguished visiting scholars Rosalie A. Kane, MSW, Ph.D., and Robert L. Kane, M.D., who are both professors at the University of Minnesota, will discuss two crucial aging health-care issues facing the country: long-term care, support, and quality of life for older people and how the health-care system can address chronic diseases that often come with aging and cost the nation billions of dollars a year to manage. The Kanes both were University of Utah faculty members in their early careers. They have authored hundreds of journal articles, written numerous books, undertaken national and international research, and participated in many task forces and study groups on the issues surrounding long-term care and health-care systems for the elderly.

The retreat, open to the public, takes place at the Saltair Room in the A. Ray Olpin Union Building on the University's campus. Mark A. Supiano, M.D., Center on Aging director and professor of internal medicine, says the retreat will offer information many people would find useful, ranging from the latest research in health care for older people to programs and resources available for the elderly and their caregivers to the growing number of career opportunities in the field of gerontology.

Scott D. Wright, Ph.D., director of the University's Interdisciplinary Gerontology Program and associate professor of nursing, says "Just about everyone, at some point, will face the challenge of finding health care or long-term care for an aging parent, friend, or even themselves," Wright said. "As the baby boomers approach retirement, the nation must be prepared for this challenge. In our upcoming retreat, we want to further the dialogue and let people know the work being done and the resources available to address this growing issue."

The retreat gets under way Tuesday, April 10, with a session to present some of the latest research in aging. Researchers will be available to answer questions, and booths and exhibits also will provide information on a range of issues related to health care for older people. The session runs from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and will include a 5 p.m. presentation to honor the husband-and-wife team of the Kanes for more than 60 years of outstanding research and contributions to improve health care for older people.

The following morning, in an 8:30-to-noon session, the Kanes each will give presentations in their research areas.

Robert Kane will discuss "Building a Health Care System that Adequately Addresses Chronic Disease." His presentation draws on not only his research but also on his experience in finding competent long-term care for his own mother.

His current research focuses on the outcomes of acute and long-term care in hospitals and post-hospital settings. He holds an endowed chair in long-term care and aging and directs the Center on Aging and Minnesota Geriatric Education Center. He served on the World Health Organization's Expert Committee on Aging and has served on numerous other committees and groups and has received a number of awards for his work.

Following his discussion, several pilot grant programs in aging research will be discussed.

Rosalie Kane will close out the retreat with a discussion of "Long-Term Support Services for Old People Wherever They Live: The Quality-of-Life Connection."

A former University of Utah faculty member, her primary research interest is in the organization, policies, and financing of long-term care services in assisted-living centers, nursing homes, and in home care. In her research, Kane examines issues such as quality assurance and ethical dilemmas posed by long-term care. She serves on numerous task forces and committees and currently directs national studies on improving the quality life in nursing homes and on service patterns in assisted living. In 1998, she received a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Award in Health Policy Research.

Following the morning session, the sixth-annual Career Fair in Aging takes place in the Saltair Room, featuring a panel presentation, information packets, and booths. As the U.S. population ages, the number of doctors, nurses, therapists, and other workers to take care of older people has not kept up with demand. In the coming decades, the need for health care workers trained to take care of older people is expected to be one of the fastest growing sectors in the job market.

For information about the research retreat and career fair, call (801) 585-9542 (Scott Wright).

More information on the University of Utah Center on Aging is available at www.aging.utah.edu.

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