Apr 28, 2017

The CAPABLE Program: Improving Patient Outcomes for Seniors With Low Incomes

AARP’s Public Policy Institute, home to the Center to Champion Nursing in America, hosted an inspiring nurse leader Tuesday whose work on helping people with low incomes age in place is making life better for many.

Sarah L. Szanton, PhD, ANP, FAAN, is program director of Johns Hopkins School of Nursing’s CAPABLE program, Community Aging in Place – Advancing Better Living for Elders. CAPABLE was designed to facilitate aging in place while keeping costs low. The program allows adults with low incomes to identify their own self-care goals and then brings in an interdisciplinary team of professionals—think occupational therapist, nurse, and a handyman or woman—to address both the home environment and the strengths and resources of the older adult.

CAPABLE has changed lives, Szanton said, detailing stories of people who were able to leave their beds and navigate their homes, cook meals and bathe after hand rails and other relatively simple additions were made to their homes. That, in turn, leads to other benefits, such as participants feeling more motivated, reduced symptoms of depression, and increased ability to manage medications and grocery shop. What’s more, roughly $3,000 in program costs yielded about $10,000 in medical cost savings, according to CAPABLE.

CAPABLE is funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services Innovation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Hartford Foundation, the Hillman Foundation, and AARP Foundation. Szanton was named an RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholar in 2011.