Harvey Friedman’s dedication to older adults began when he was a young CEO of a long-term care facility. “I saw firsthand the need for better geriatric care,” he explains. “Even then, we were giving scholarships to nurses interested in furthering their education in geriatrics.”
Friedman and his wife, Dorismae, continued their focus on geriatric care by establishing the Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging through Washington University, and the Dorismae and Harvey A. Friedman Research on Aging Award through the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Foundation. Building on that effort, the Friedmans most recently established the Ruth and Sam Hacker Graduate Nursing Research Fellowship in Aging at the Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College. The fund is named in honor of Mrs. Friedman’s parents.
“All these pieces work together for better geriatric care,” Friedman says. “Our hope is that nurses will continue study beyond their normal nursing skills to learn more about geriatric care. We want to teach them and they, in turn, will teach others.”
Mrs. Friedman says the nursing research fellowship in geriatrics is breaking into new territory. “Studying geriatrics in nursing is new and different – it hasn’t been done much before, yet it’s so important and necessary. Through this fellowship, we hope aging adults will have the improved care they need.”
The Hacker Graduate Nursing Research Fellowship in Aging supports a graduate nursing student with gerontology interest and gives that student a chance to work in a world-class medical research laboratory with nationally and internationally recognized faculty. Fellowship monies will support books, conference attendance and research in memory and aging under a faculty investigator at the Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging, the Memory and Aging Project or the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Washington University.
Suping Bao, RN, the first recipient of the Ruth and Sam Hacker Graduate Nursing Research Fellowship in Aging, is already working on research that she hopes to soon apply to help aging adult patients. Bao is an adult nurse practitioner master’s student and an oncology nurse at Barnes-Jewish. For her master’s thesis, Bao is collecting data from patients with Alzheimer’s disease and their respective caregivers on their perspectives about hospice and various end-of-life issues.
“There is little or no information about the perceptions about hospice in people with milder stages of Alzheimer’s disease, when they can still contribute to decisions about advance directives,” Bao says. “It’s important for patients to be able to discuss advance directives and goals of care at a stage when they still have the capacity to express their wishes.”
From Barnes-Jewish Hospital Foundation’s Giving Magazine, 2009, Issue 2