Fellowship study to focus on minimizing falls among elderly
WASHINGTON—The American Academy of Healthcare Interior Designers (AAHID) and Nurture® by Steelcase have announced the recipient of the 2011 AAHID / Nurture Graduate Research Fellowship as Jeanneane Wood-Nartker.
The purpose of the fellowship program is to promote the importance of interior design research and to contribute to the body of knowledge for healthcare interior design, consistent with the mission of AAHID. It also reflects Nurture’s mission to change the way people experience healthcare environments through research and evidence-based design.
The fellowship is designed to assist new investigators in initiating the research aspect of their education by providing seed money to afford graduate students the opportunity to pursue new or novel areas of research. This program started in 2009, with Nurture agreeing to support the Graduate Research Fellowship for five years.
Jeanneane Wood-Nartker, the 2011 AAHID / Nurture Fellow, has a B.F.A. in Interior Design with a minor in Business; a M.A.A. in Interior Design, with a concentration in Facilities Management and Design; and a M.A.A. in Industrial Engineering with an emphasis in Construction Management. She is pursuing a PhD in Interior Design from the University of Minnesota, with a research emphasis on the built environment and fall reduction for older adults residing in assisted living facilities. She also teaches at Central Michigan University, which is a Council for Interior Design Accreditation (CIDA) accredited interior design program and has served as co-chairperson of that process.
“I’m passionate about designing and teaching solutions that provide person-centered healthcare environments using a multi-disciplinary approach,” says Wood-Nartker.
With an increasing number of older adults in the U.S. and housing options becoming more diverse, an increasingly frequently favored option includes “aging in place” within one’s home.
As the old get older, the number of physical limitations also increases, largely due to age-related sensory decline. As a result, the ability to age at home may be called into question, since many homes are not equipped to serve changing personal needs. As this occurs, there is an increased danger of falls, which is one of the top ten leading causes of death in older adults, creating a need to see what can be done to minimize the impact and occurrence of falls.
Wood-Nartker’s PhD dissertation specifically focuses on the impact of sensory cues designed into the environment and their relationship to the number of resident falls in public spaces within assisted living facilities (ALFs).
“Using the growing body of knowledge of how daily life is impacted by diminished sensory perception, this research project will determine whether the number and type of sensory cues influence the number of falls occurring within the public spaces of ALFs,” says Wood-Nartker. “I believe it is possible to minimize the number of falls occurring in ALFs, which sometimes result from normal age-related sensory losses.”
The first goal of this exploratory study is to determine whether there is a relationship between the existence and type of sensory cues within the built environment on the number of falls by older adults who live in ALFs. A secondary goal of this study will be to evaluate the validity of the checklist instrument developed for this study. A third goal will be to develop a list of research and design recommendations that can be utilized to enhance the design solutions of public spaces within ALFs.
“We are very pleased to award this fellowship to such an outstanding candidate,” says Jocelyn Stroupe, president of AAHID. “The significance of the proposed research study by Ms. Wood-Nartker, her qualifications, the clarity of her goals and her potential to make significant contributions to our industry in the future really made her the right choice in the selection committee’s mind.”
“Nurture is excited to partner with AAHID and participate in this important program,” says Alan Rheault, director of product design for Nurture by Steelcase. “Nurture strongly believes in evidence-based design and thorough research to better healthcare environments and we believe that Ms. Wood-Nartker’s research will further that effort.”
AAHID and Nurture will assist Wood-Nartker in the development of her research and design exploration and the award is intended to support the recipient by providing funds to cover educational and necessary expenses during 2012. She will present the results of her work at the annual Healthcare Design Conference in November of 2012.
“It is with great honor that I accept the responsibility of being named the 2011 AAHID / Nurture Fellow,” says Wood-Nartker.