Ford Expands U.S. Medical Ride Business Built Around Its Vans

DETROIT — Ford Motor Co said on Wednesday that it was expanding a medical transport service called GoRide in Southeast Michigan, one of several efforts by the U.S. automaker to build new ride service businesses around its Transit commercial van.

Under a multi-year agreement with Michigan healthcare system Beaumont Health, Ford will use Transit vans to transport patients to medical appointments, or from hospitals to home or rehabilitation centers.

Ford already has 15 vans serving Beaumont facilities as part of a previously announced test project and plans to deploy 60 vans by the end of the year, the company said.

Full story at the New York Times

New Funding Opportunity for Center on Knowledge Translation for Technology Transfer

A new funding opportunity from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) at ACL has been announced for a Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP) Program: Center on Knowledge Translation for Technology Transfer.

The purpose of the DRRP program is to plan and conduct research, demonstration projects, training, and related activities (including international activities) to develop methods, procedures, and rehabilitation technology that maximize the full inclusion and integration into society, employment, independent living, family support, and economic and social self-sufficiency of individuals with disabilities.

Full story at acl.gov

Simple Home Improvements for the Vision Impaired

Coping with vision impairment has become a necessity for many more people as the baby boom generation ages, but some simple improvements can help aging homeowners stay independent and safe.

It can be something as basic as painting a door frame a different color or getting rid of dinner plates that blend right into a tablecloth. “They’re mostly subtle changes, but it can have a high impact,” said Charnora Simon, the coordinator of the adaptive living program at Helen Keller Services for the Blind, a nonprofit group.

She recalled one client, for example, who was having a tough time eating and drinking without spilling things. Ms. Simon spotted the problem right away: the client was using beige dishes and mugs on a white tablecloth.

Full story at the New York Times

Social isolation puts elderly at health risk

One in five elderly adults is socially isolated from family or friends, increasing their risks for poor mental and physical health, as well as higher rates of mortality, according to a University of Michigan study.

U-M researchers investigated several factors impacting social isolation from family and friends within a national sample of more than 1,300 older African-Americans, black Caribbeans and whites. Study participants were aged 55 and older during the data collection from 2001 to 2003.

Overall, most elderly were connected to both family and friends (77 percent), while 11 percent were isolated from friends only and 7 percent were isolated from family members only. Of concern, however, were the 5 percent of elderly who were socially isolated from both family and friends, which may place them at risk for physical and mental health problems, the researchers say.

Full story at Medical Xpress

Can You Hear Me Now? Senate Bill On Hearing Aids May Make The Answer ‘Yes’

Last December, Deb Wiese bought hearing aids for her parents, one for each of them. She ordered them online from a big-box retailer and paid $719 for the pair. But her parents, in their 80s and retired from farming in central Minnesota, couldn’t figure out how to adjust the volume or change the batteries. They soon set them aside.

“Technology is not only unfamiliar but unwelcome” to her parents, Wiese said. “I don’t know what the answer is for people like that.”

A bill introduced by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) in March could make it easier for her parents and millions like them to get assistance. It would allow Medicare to pay audiologists to teach beneficiaries how to adjust to and use their hearing aids as well as how to manage communication with other people, among other things.

Full story at Kaiser Health News

Webinar: Addressing Social Determinants of Health in Primary Care

Although a growing body of research suggests that social determinants of health—social, functional, environmental, cultural and psychological factors—are intricately linked to health and wellness, our fragmented medical and social services are often underequipped to address these needs. The Ambulatory Integration of the Medical and Social (AIMS) model—developed by the Center for Health and Social Care Integration (CHaSCI) at Rush University Medical Center—integrates masters-prepared social workers into primary care teams to identify, address, and monitor social needs that influence health.

Preliminary evidence indicates that AIMS reduces clients’ emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and readmission rates. AIMS also creates opportunities for community-based organizations (CBO) to develop partnerships with local health clinics to integrate care and promote better health outcomes.

Please join the Aging and Disability Business Institute  on April 24 at 1:00 PM Eastern for a one-hour webinar. This webinar will highlight training and implementation support for CBOs interested in replicating AIMS.

For more on this Webinar, visit acl.gov

Out-of-pocket expenses for chronic heart disease care inflict heavy financial burdens for low-income families; even those with insurance

Cumulative out-of-pocket expenses for the treatment of chronic heart disease led to significant financial burdens for low-income families, even for those with health insurance, according to preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association’s Quality of Care and Outcomes Research Scientific Sessions 2018, a premier global exchange of the latest advances in quality of care and outcomes research in cardiovascular disease and stroke for researchers, healthcare professionals and policymakers.

The study focused on the effect of out-of-pocket health expenses for treating atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease on low-income families, defined as those with an income below 200 percent of the federal poverty limit. During the study period (2006-2015), that ranged from $20,000 to $24,250 per year for a family of four.

Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease is a group of conditions caused by atherosclerosis — a build-up of plaque that can harden and narrow the arteries and consequently result in a heart attack, stroke or death. It’s the leading cause of death, a major cause of disability and a major source of healthcare costs. The researchers defined high and catastrophic health expenses as out-of-pocket expenses of more than 20 percent and more than 40 percent of family income, respectively.

Full story at Science Daily

New Funding Opportunity for Research on Community Living and Participation of People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

A new funding opportunity from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) at ACL has been announced for an Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on community living and participation for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The purpose of the RRTC program, which are funded through the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program, is to achieve the goals of, and improve the effectiveness of, services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act through well-designed research, training, technical assistance, and dissemination activities in important topic areas as specified by NIDILRR. These activities are designed to benefit rehabilitation service providers, individuals with disabilities, family members, and other stakeholders.

Full story at acl.gov

Organoids created from patients’ bladder cancers could guide treatment

Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) and NewYork-Presbyterian researchers have created patient-specific bladder cancer organoids that mimic many of the characteristics of actual tumors. The use of organoids, tiny 3-D spheres derived from a patient’s own tumor, may be useful in the future to guide treatment of patients.

The study was published today in the online edition of Cell.

In precision medicine, molecular profiling of an individual patient’s tumor is used to identify genetic mutations that drive that individual’s cancer. That knowledge may help physicians select the best drug to fight the cancer, but the analysis does not always predict how a patient will respond to specific therapies.

Full story at Science Daily

Vegetables may help protect elderly women from hardening of neck arteries

Elderly Australian women who ate more vegetables showed less carotid artery wall thickness, according to new research in Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

Cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts proved the most beneficial.

“This is one of only a few studies that have explored the potential impact of different types of vegetables on measures of subclinical atherosclerosis, the underlying cause of cardiovascular disease,” said Lauren Blekkenhorst, study lead author and Ph.D. candidate at the University of Western Australia in Crawley.

Full story at Science Daily