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Social Convoy Palliative Care (Convoy-Pal) Mobile Health for Older Adults with Advanced Heart Failure

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PROJECT SUMMARY/ABSTRACT This is a submission for the NIA K76 Paul B. Beeson Emerging Leaders Career Development Award in Aging. Dr. Jennifer Dickman Portz?s long-term career plan is to become a leader in developing and implementing digitally-supported palliative care that can be used by older adults with advanced illnesses and their ?social convoy? (i.e. family members, informal and formal caregivers) to effectively improve patient-family centered health outcomes. Her proposed research will refine and test the Social Convoy Palliative Care (Convoy-Pal) mobile application, a new intervention that integrates the social convoy in digitally-supported palliative care to promote symptom management and quality of life among older adults with advanced heart failure. Candidate: Dr. Portz is currently a T32 Aging and Palliative Care Research Fellow in the School of Medicine at the University of Colorado, and an Assistant Professor of social work at Colorado State University and the Colorado School of Public Health. Training: The proposed K76 career development plan is designed to develop Dr. Portz?s expertise in digital health for geriatric palliative care with 1) training in clinical palliative care, digital usability testing, mixed methods, pragmatic clinical trials, and leadership skills, and 2) hands-on research experience in mobile health development. Dr. Portz proposes ongoing mentorship, coursework, and research leadership experience. Mentors/Environment: Dr. Portz and her primary mentor, Dr. Sheana Bull, assembled an interdisciplinary team with expertise in digital health, heart failure, geriatrics, computer science, and palliative care who will mentor Dr. Portz through the proposed training and research activities. To augment this team, an advisory commitee of nationally recognized experts in palliative care, aging and technology, and social work will monitor Dr. Portz?s career development progress. With support from Colorado State University and the University of Colorado, Dr. Portz is well-positioned to lead geriatric palliative care research efforts across Colorado. Research: As older adults with advanced illness increasingly rely on the support of others to help manage their health, there is a critical need to foster approaches for effective integration of the social convoy in mobile health. Thus, the objective of this award is to use heart failure specific palliative care as a model to investigate the design, usability, and feasibility of digitally supported palliative care by older users and their social convoy. Dr. Portz will work with her mentors to develop, refine, and test the Convoy-Pal. Summary: Dr. Portz proposes a patient-family centered approach to the design and evaluation of the first convoy-focused heart failure palliative care specific mobile application. She has an established interdisciplinary mentorship team to ensure the completion of the proposed research and complimentary training. The Beeson Award will enable Dr. Portz to strategically develop her leadership skills to become an innovator and change agent in digital health and social work research for geriatric palliative care. !
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