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Kathleen Tschantz Unroe, MD, MHA, MS

Kathleen Tschantz Unroe, MD, MHA, MS

  • Research Scientist,  Indiana University Center for Aging Research at Regenstrief Institute
  • Associate Professor of Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine

Dr. Kathleen Unroe’s research, clinical and policy interests are focused on improving quality of care — particularly access to palliative and end-of-life care — for nursing home residents. Dr. Unroe is co-PI of UPLIFT, an NIH R01 clinical trial to test a robust model of palliative care for nursing home residents, and co-PI of APPROACHES an NIH R33 pragmatic trial of advance care planning in nursing homes. She also led OPTIMISTIC, a novel 8-year, $30.3 million CMS-funded demonstration project aimed at improving quality of care and reducing unnecessary hospitalizations in 40 Indiana nursing homes. She was awarded a 2014 Paul B. Beeson K23 Career Development Award to examine hospice use in nursing homes. She was a 2009-2010 Health and Aging Policy Fellow and had a placement in Health and Human Services ASPE Office of Disability, Aging, and Long-Term Care Policy. Dr. Unroe is the founder and Chief Medical Officer of Probari, a business designed to disseminate the successful OPTIMISTIC clinical care model.

Dr. Unroe is vice-chair of the American Geriatrics Society Public Policy Committee. She was a 2009-2010 Health and Aging Policy Fellow and had a placement in Health and Human Services ASPE Office of Disability, Aging, and Long-Term Care Policy.

Dr. Unroe is the founder and CEO of Probari, a business designed to disseminate the successful OPTIMISTIC clinical care model.

“We are providing education and training in real-world environments to develop a new model of care, putting increased resources into nursing homes, which we hope will result in system change in Indiana and across the nation.”

Highlighted Publications

Unroe KT. The Pandemic Creates Urgency around Designing Health System Support Structures for Nursing Homes. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2021 Jan;69(1):18-19. doi: 10.1111/jgs.16916. Epub 2020 Nov 11. PubMed PMID: 33179253.

Unroe KT, Evans R, Weaver L, Rusyniak D, Blackburn J. Willingness of Long-Term Care Staff to Receive a COVID-19 Vaccine: A Single State Survey. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2020 Dec 28;. doi: 10.1111/jgs.17022. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 33370448.

Unroe KT, Hickman SE, Carnahan JL, Hass Z, Sachs G, Arling G. Investigating the Avoidability of Hospitalizations of Long Stay Nursing Home Residents – Opportunities for Improvement. Innov Aging 2018 Jul 5;2(2):igy017. doi: 10.1093/geroni/igy017. eCollection 2018 Jun.

Unroe KT, Carnahan JL, Hickman SE, Sachs G, Hass Z, Arling G. The Complexity of Determining Whether a Nursing Home Transfer Is Avoidable at Time of Transfer. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2018 May; 66(5):895-901. doi: 10.1111/jgs.15286. Epub 2018 Feb 13.

Unroe KT, Fowler NR, Carnahan JL, Holtz LR, Hickman SE, Effler S, Evans R, Frank KI, Ott ML, Sachs GA. Improving Nursing Facility Care through an Innovative Payment Demonstration Project: OPTIMISTIC Phase Two. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2018 Jul; 66: doi: 10.1111/jgs.15462

Unroe KT, Sachs GA, Dennis ME, Hickman SE, Stump TE, Tu W, Callahan CM. Effect of Hospice Use on Costs of Care for Long-Stay Nursing Home Decedents. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2016 Apr;64(4):723-30. doi: 10.1111/jgs.14070. Epub 2016 Apr 5. PMID: 27059000; PMCID: PMC4840056.

Unroe KT, Sachs GA, Dennis ME, Hickman SE, Stump TE, Tu W, Callahan CM. Effect of Hospice Use on Costs of Care for Long-Stay Nursing Home Decedents. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2016 Apr;64(4):723-30. doi: 10.1111/jgs.14070. Epub 2016 Apr 5. PMID: 27059000; PMCID: PMC4840056.

Unroe KT, Cagle JG, Lane KA, Callahan CM, Miller SC. Nursing Home Staff Palliative Care Knowledge and Practices: Results of a Large Survey of Frontline Workers. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2015 Nov;50(5):622-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2015.06.006. Epub 2015 Jul 3. PMID: 26150325; PMCID: PMC4755479.

Unroe KT, Nazir A, Holtz LR, Maurer H, Miller E, Hickman SE, La Mantia MA, Bennett M, Arling G, Sachs GA. The Optimizing Patient Transfers, Impacting Medical Quality, and Improving Symptoms: Transforming Institutional Care approach: preliminary data from the implementation of a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services nursing facility demonstration project. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2015 Jan;63(1):165-9. doi: 10.1111/jgs.13141. Epub 2014 Dec 23. PMID: 25537789.

 

Current Research Projects

UPLIFT-AD
(R01 – NIA, PI: Unroe) (2020-2025)
The UPLIFT-AD (Utilizing Palliative care Leaders In Facilities to Transform care for Alzheimer’s Disease) clinical trial is testing a comprehensive palliative care model in nursing homes in Indiana and Maryland. This randomized, stepped wedge trial includes both internal primary care training and tools for nursing home staff and external specialty palliative care consultants and will measure perceived quality of life for residents with moderate to advanced dementia.

A Nursing Home Pragmatic Clinical Trial of APPROACHES (Aligning Patient Preferences: A Role Offering Alzheimer’s patient, Caregivers, and Healthcare providers Education and Support)
(R33 – NIH/NIA, Co-PI’s: Unroe/Hickman)
This project will conduct a pragmatic cluster randomized controlled trial aimed at improving advanced care planning and goal-directed outcomes in nursing home patients with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia.