Nursing professor awarded NIH grant for prison peer-caregiver training research

Brooke Killmon
June 30, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Of the 2.3 million incarcerated individuals in the U.S. prison system, more than 20% of these individuals are age 50 or older. Many often suffer from chronic diseases that require long-term care, creating the need to alleviate the increasing healthcare burden and costs for the Departments of Corrections.

Susan J. Loeb, Penn State College of Nursing and College of Medicine professor, recently received grant funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Institute on Aging (NIA) to support the second phase of her team’s research on "E-training of Inmate Peer Caregivers for Enhancing Geriatric and End-of-life Care in Prisons."

Loeb will lead the project, working alongside MPI Valerie H. Myers, a clinical psychologist and senior scientist at Klein Buendel Inc, a health communication research and technology firm in Golden, Colorado. Beginning June 15, phase II of the research study will be conducted at state correctional institutions throughout the U.S., focusing primarily on the research and development of an e-training product, called Inmates Care, that will prepare individuals who are incarcerated to assist prison staff in addressing the care needs of aged and dying men and women in the highly restrictive settings of state prisons. This evidence-based and highly interactive product is aimed at developing face-to-face and hands on training typically provided within the correctional facility.

Loeb and her team anticipate that the new research phase will allow for extended development, and improved quality and testing of the caregiver training program to prepare peer caregivers to assist prison staff in addressing this unique public health problem of providing quality care for vulnerable prison populations. This work will provide greater attention to men and women who are experiencing advanced chronic conditions and approaching end-of-life while incarcerated.

Loeb has been a dedicated researcher and faculty member with the College of Nursing for more than 16 years, having served as principal investigator, multiple principal investigator and co-investigator on various research projects, including seven NIH-funded research studies focusing on enhancing the health and care of incarcerated, aging in place, and end-of-life individuals in prison. Loeb attributes her personal development and research successes to the college and the many affiliated centers.

“The College of Nursing has exemplary infrastructure for faculty who are engaged in NIH funded research.” said Loeb. “The Center for Nursing Research and Center for Geriatric Nursing Excellence have provided venues for us to share our work and opportunities to connect with the many community partners locally, nationally, and internationally, and our many fine graduate and undergraduate students who are eager to engage with a dynamic research team and who have made important contributions to my program of research.”

Read more about Loeb’s research here.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated July 01, 2020