Lené Levy-Storms’ core research concerns communication issues between health care providers and patients. Older adults with their increased risk of having chronic care needs and limited social relationships may depend on formal health care providers for technical assistance as well as emotional support. In 2003, Dr. Levy-Storms received career development award from the National Institute on Aging titled, “Therapeutic Communication during Nursing Home Care.” In this five year study, she is focusing on communication issues between nursing home staff and frail, older residents during care.
Dr. Levy-Storms has approached this problem in three ways. First, she has devised a way to code open-ended comments from nursing home residents about their interactions with staff into indicators of perceived emotional and instrumental support. Second, she has adapted audio and video-based measures of communication between providers and patients in medical care settings to that of the nursing home setting. She is in the process of linking the residents’ perceived support to the nursing aides’ communication behaviors. Nursing aides provide the most care to residents of all nursing home staff. Third, she has been piloting a communication training program to improve the way nursing aides communicate with residents during care.
Dr. Levy-Storms has B.S. degree in psychology from UC Davis, a MPH in biostatistics and PhD in public health. From 1998-2000, she was an assistant professor in the Department of Health Promotion and Gerontology and a fellow of the Sealy Center on Aging at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, TX. In 2000, she joined the UCLA Department of Medicine, Division of Geriatrics as an assistant professor. At that time, she also became an associate director of the UCLA/Borun Center for Gerontological Research, an appointment which she continues to hold. The Borun Center is based at the Jewish Home for the Aging in Reseda, CA and focuses on applied research to improve the quality of life of older adults in long-term care settings. She now holds a joint appointment with Medicine and Social Welfare.