Two members of the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah have created a project to identify and start addressing the unmet healthcare needs of the elderly and their caregivers. Their idea has earned them funding from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), a nonprofit organization dedicated to funding research designed to give patients, caregivers and clinicians the information needed to make better healthcare decisions.

Dr. Debra Scammon (pictured), director of the school’s Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) program, and Christie North, a graduate of the school’s Executive MBA program and member of the MHA program’s Community Advisory Board, won the funding for a project called “Taking Care of Our Parents: Improving the Coordination of Care for Elderly Community Members.” It is one of only 30 proposals funded by PCORI.

As the Baby Boomers grow into retirement age, more Americans today find themselves providing care for a sick or disabled loved one. No less than two of every five adults are providing care for a family member, and often both the caregiver and care recipient are over the age of 65. And that care is serious work, involving medical and nursing tasks, managing medications and operating complex medical equipment. Many elders too ill to be cared for at home have to navigate a combination of fragmented care from a variety of facilities, including rehabilitation clinics and long-term care outlets. Two-thirds of people who reach age 65 will need long-term care in their lifetime.

“We are both caregivers for family members and know some of the challenges,” said Dr. Scammon. “Our aim is to engage a community of patients and caregivers who have experience with the stresses of managing care needs of the elderly.”

Scammon and North