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University of Iowa News Release

Dec. 17, 2004

Photos (from top): Meridean Maas, Ph.D., R.N., and Janet Specht, Ph.D., R.N., an associate professor in the UI College of Nursing.

HomeSafe Locates At UI's Technology Innovation Center

At its meeting Dec. 15-16, the Board of Regents, State of Iowa approved a lease for J & M Associates, LCC as the newest tenant of the University of Iowa's Technology Innovation Center (TIC). The company, doing business as HomeSafe, provides a nursing and case-management service, providing support for older persons to live independently and longer in their own homes.

J& M Associates/HomeSafe is owned and operated by Meridean Maas, Ph.D., R.N., and Janet Specht, Ph.D., R.N., an associate professor in the UI College of Nursing. Both have many years of experience in long-term care nursing as a clinicians, administrators and academics. Maas is currently the principal investigator and director of the John A. Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence in the UI College of Nursing, one of five funded Centers of Excellence in the United States. The coordinator of HomeSafe is Cathy Tholen.

HomeSafe was established to translate nursing research and evidence to address a gap in elder health care and support service. The business employs several part-time registered nurse (RN) case-managers, nursing assistants who are often College of Nursing students, a part-time accounts manager and a full-time coordinator/manager. For a fee, elders and their families subscribe to four levels of case-managed care and services based on the elder's needs. HomeSafe clients are assigned a nurse manager, who makes routine visits as well as phone consultations with the client and family members. The frequency of the visits and phone calls depends on the level of service the client requests.

According to Specht and Maas, there is a great demand for nursing services among older people living in their own homes. Services that emphasize health and safety assessment, health promotion, prevention of acute illnesses and disabilities and chronic disease management for seniors are limited, and are sometimes compromised by limited, fragmented and under-coordinated in-home services. The result is that many elders relocate to nursing homes since no other option is available to them.

The success of HomeSafe's nurse case management and support service was documented with its first clients. Of the 40 HomeSafe clients who were in crisis situations and close to being sent to nursing homes, only six entered a nursing facility. Home stays were extended an average of six months with an average per client cost savings of $12,000 compared to nursing home costs. The clients also increased their self-care, treatment adherence and social activities. Family caregiver stress was reduced, and family member satisfaction was increased, according to Specht and Maas.

HomeSafe will have a one-year lease for office space in Suite 206 in the TIC effective Jan. 1.

HomeSafe will become the 18th company in the TIC. Since 1984, 87 new ventures have been admitted to the TIC and 29 companies are considered "graduates" having succeeded in meeting their business goals upon leaving TIC. TIC tenant and "graduate" companies in Iowa currently have 640 employees in Iowa.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: George McCrory, 319-384-0012, george-mccrory@uiowa.edu; TIC Questions: Tom Bauer, associate director TIC 319-335-4067, thomas-bauer@uiowa.edu; Homesafe Questions: Cathy Tholen, 319-335-4475, cathy@homesafeia.org