Johns Hopkins nurse wins $250K prize for home care program

Nurse researcher Dr. Sarah Szanton, PhD, CRNP, received the Heinz Award for Human Condition for the co-development of Community Aging in Place Advancing Better Living for Elders, a progressive program helping low-income older adults live independently.

 Dr. Szanton, a professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing in Baltimore, and colleagues developed CAPABLE to provide low-income seniors with home repair services, in-home nursing and occupational therapy to help them age independently and decrease healthcare costs. CAPABLE aims to help seniors address everyday challenges, like bathing and meal preparation, while also managing their medical issues. The program focuses on patients' own priorities and uses motivational interviewing techniques to determine how obstacles to independent living can be overcome.

Active in 28 locations in 14 states, CAPABLE continues to expand. Research shows that a $3,000 investment in the program is associated with more than $20,000 in medical savings. Patient depression and difficulties in day-to-day functioning both decreased, while medication management improved. 

Dr. Szanton is one of five Heinz Award winners this year. The award, named after former Sen. John Heinz, R-Pa., comes with a $250,000 cash prize.

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