New center to help people manage chronic conditions

by Vicky Cerino, UNMC public relations | March 21, 2016

Image with caption: Lani Zimmerman, Ph.D.

Lani Zimmerman, Ph.D.

The University of Nebraska Board of Regents today approved plans to establish the Center for Patient, Family, and Community Engagement in Chronic Care Management (CCCM).

The focus of the center is to build infrastructure to expand and fund pilot research projects that help Nebraskans learn to live with their chronic conditions so they stay healthy, stay in their homes longer and reduce health care costs.

Projects will engage caregivers, families, and communities in the effort. Funding is provided by UNMC and the University of Nebraska Foundation.

The center, which will be administered through the College of Nursing and will initially have offices in both Lincoln and Omaha, will bring together researchers, health professionals and educators from different disciplines and organizations to improve the safety, quality, and efficiency of self-management of chronic conditions.

One of the goals is for researchers to ultimately secure major grants. The center also will offer education and training workshops for faculty from campus, local and national experts related to new research designs, opportunities for funding and collaboration.

"Chronic illnesses and conditions are a growing crisis," said Lani Zimmerman, Ph.D., director of the center and professor in the UNMC College of Nursing. "If we are going to address this problem, we will have to do more to engage and rely on patients, family caregivers and community partners to help manage these conditions.

"We're looking for multidisciplinary teams to be part of the center. The teams will implement strategies to promote self-management to maintain or improve the patient's health and prevent a decline in health. Self-management support programs are one means of improving patient outcomes and reducing hospital readmissions and emergency room visits."

Some examples of promoting self-management include:

  • goal setting;
  • problem solving and decision making;
  • learning to recognize red flags to avoid trips to the emergency room or unnecessary hospitalization;
  • learning when to see a health provider;
  • and what to take along when seeing a provider.

The center will include professionals from different health and academic units at UNMC colleges and centers, Nebraska Medicine, UNMC's hospital partner, the University of Nebraska at Omaha, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Doctoral students will have the opportunity to interact and serve on research teams.

The center will have an emphasis on using mobile, wearable, and online technologies to deliver interventions and monitor outcomes in rural and urban populations where access is a concern.

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Janice McElwain
June 21, 2017 at 9:49 AM

Is there anything we can do now like I said in my email the need is now for alot of pts. Hope there is some kind of help now. Thank you so much for starting such a great program!!!