Date of Award

Fall 10-12-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

DNP Doctor of Nursing Practice




Mary Ellen E. Roberts, DNP

Committee Member

Margaret Huryk, DNP

Committee Member

Ralph De Palo, Ph.D.


Aging in place, screening, successful aging, facilitating aging in place, risk factors, nursing homes


The world is experiencing an increase in the aged population. This increase stimulated the popular theme of aging in place. Much time, effort and research have been channeled into exploring this model as an alternative to assisted living or skilled nursing settings for senior citizens worldwide. Elders desire to age in place. Current, recent, and decades old literature identifies this preferential option of the elderly and supports the need to develop plans and tools to assist elders to be able to successfully age in place. This quality assurance project is the venture to create both a congregate living community and screening toolkit to identify those elders who may successfully age in place in an independent living setting with access to various supportive services.

The toolkit was developed for staff to use to help to determine if an older adult would be a candidate to age in place. After the screening tools are administered, the admission committee comprising of a nurse, an admissions coordinator and representative(s) from administration meet to review the results and determine if aging is place is appropriate for each applicant.

Following pilot testing of the assessment tool, it was necessary to undertake several refinements to the tool and to the screening process. Further field testing and supplemental training with the revised assessment tools, along with rationale for the revisions, occurred in August 2022. The training was successful.

The toolkit was not the only component of this project. A large portion of the project concurrently focused on utilizing a team-based approach to create an actual congregate living community setting for low-income senior citizens. Team members included an architect, general contractor, nursing home administrator, director of nursing, expediter, and attorneys with expertise in healthcare and zoning regulations. The results of the project were the development of 30 rooming units with a bathroom including shower and a small kitchenette equipped with refrigerator, sink, and microwave. A stove was also installed in a common area to be accessible to all. Two laundry rooms, two lounges, a dining area, activity room, chapel, and gym complemented the rooming units.

The objectives of the project were: 1) to develop a program for screening of elderly persons who desire to age in place in an independent living community, 2) to educate staff members responsible for admissions, 3) to have the program accepted by the workplace, 4) to have a quality admission program for older adults who want to age in place, and 5) to evaluate the tool as well as the process. The stakeholders involved in this project approved the objectives, as did the DNP program director.

This project has significance. The significance rests in the fact that the world’s population is aging. A common theme that transcends borders is that most elders desire to age in place at home or in a homelike setting. This theme has implications for DNP-prepared nurses and for society. Having a validated toolkit can guide clinicians in their ability to assess the appropriateness of candidates seeking an independent congregate living setting. Such decisions are important to respect the preference of today’s elders.