TEAMS for Healthier Living

“We created TEAMS for Healthier Living to elicit and positively reinforce healthy lifestyle behaviors and mitigate the impact of chronic illness,” said Kathy Moisio, PhD, RN, “because it is difficult to change longstanding health-related behaviors in a 10- or 15-minute practitioner visit, and written pamphlets don’t always work.” TEAMS for Healthier Living brings together students and faculty from a local university and college with older adults and staff at community sites to achieve a healthier lifestyle. We visited the Mountain View Community Center in Edgewood, WA in early March 2017 to see how the SAIL Program has been integrated into the larger framework of TEAMS for Healthier Living.

TEAMS was developed by staff from the Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission in Washington State and stands for

  • Together
  • Eating better
  • Actively living
  • Monitoring health
  • Self-managing risk

The SAIL Program is the “actively living” component of TEAMS. Older adults at three different community-based sites meet several times weekly to participate in the SAIL fitness class. Beth Ann Johnson is the Community Programs Coordinator at Mountain View. Beth Ann completed a one-day, on-site SAIL Program Leader training in September 2013. “There were ten of us that started in the SAIL Program back then”, says Beth Ann. “We could only get through ten minutes of exercise, but now we can go for an hour”. Their original group of ten people has now grown to forty people!

A SAIL fitness class

Jamie Sheppard and Nicole Phillips are nursing students at Pacific Lutheran University. They have been working with the older adults at Mountain View as part of their training in community health engagement. When we asked them what they were learning about older adults, Jamie told us that it was amazing “how in shape they are! They can do the entire one hour SAIL Program without blinking. When I did it the first time I was tired!” Nicole echoed these thoughts by stating, “What’s really remarkable is their balance capability. The SAIL Program is very applicable to everyday activities like getting in and out of the bathtub.”

Practicing balance skills of single leg stance, and a 360-degree turn

The SAIL Program is just one of the “wrap-around” components of TEAMS. TEAMS incorporates local nursing students as well as student occupational therapy assistants to assist older adults in learning about and gaining access to

  • Healthy snacks, supported by recipes and health education
  • Holistic activity, such as watercolor painting and progressive relaxation
  • Basic health monitoring, such as blood pressure and weight checks, with health education
  • One-on-one action planning and positive reinforcement toward individualized goals

Sarah Schofield, RN is the faculty representative from Pacific Lutheran University who supervises the student nurses at Mountain View. “Nursing students are focused on the acute care world and they get tunnel vision”, Sarah told us. “This experience breaks that down, and opens their eyes to who the patients are outside the hospital”.

And that is exactly the sentiment expressed by Nicole. “I did my long term care facility clinical experience first, and it was heartbreaking, but coming here I can see that working with older adults can be fun. My experience here has re-kindled my drive to participate and interact with older adults.”

We caught up with Albert Furusho, another of the nursing students. Albert was working with an older adult to record blood pressure and weight. Albert stated that he had been surprised at how enthusiastic and engaged the older adults are. “Chronic problems are from lifestyle choices, so these smaller steps that we are helping them learn will lead to larger goals”.

Health monitoring is paired with health education

Amy O’Reilly was assisting an older adult in developing an Action Plan to increase fiber and protein in the diet. Amy shared that she was learning that older adults are very capable in doing for themselves, and that is one thing that she will take with her when she is talking to older adults in her future career as a nurse.

One-on-one action planning leads to individualized goals

Holistic activities are provided by students in the occupational therapy assistant program at Green River Community College. Caitlin Gilbert, Erin Rabbage, and Brianna Hubbard recently helped the older adults at Mountain View in creating a condolence card. These future occupational therapy assistants shared their goals for the activity by telling us, “This group really focused on the mental/emotional health aspect of health and wellness. The community at Mountain View is very close, and recently lost one of their members. The activity was to create a card for the daughter of the member who passed, while encouraging members to express their feelings and feel a sense of togetherness. It also is intended to provide the daughter with a sense of community/emotional support. Most of the members are religious, and participating in this activity as part of the mourning process could be spiritually beneficial. This group also encourages social interaction by placing the activity at the large conference table so that they can continue conversation with their peers, and provide condolences to one another if necessary.”

Student occupational therapy assistants led the holistic activity of creating a condolence card

TEAMS for Healthier Living is offered through the collaborative efforts of seven organizations, and is sponsored by Multicare Health System through its Community Partnership Fund. TEAMS has been implemented on a small scale since 2013; program evaluation results to date have shown the program to be cost-effective with positive health outcomes for older adults as well as positive learning outcomes for students – a win, win by all accounts.

If you would like more information regarding TEAMS, please contact Kathy Moisio, PhD, RN at Kathy.Moisio@doh.wa.gov.