The University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Cynthia S. Jacelon


In my research I explore the dignity, function, and sense of control of elders with chronic health problems, and how using handheld and wearable devices can help elders self-manage their symptoms. I want to know how these concepts are related to maintaining health and independence and how health care providers can enhance an elder's dignity, sense of control and self-management of the symptoms of chronic health problems.

Current Research
I am the Principal Investigator for the UManage Center for the Advancement of the Science of Symptom Self-Management P20NR016599. The UManage Center is a research center in the College of Nursing designed to build research strength in nurse-led multidisciplinary teams to develop new wearable and handheld technologies for the self-management of fatigue and sleep impairment in individuals with chronic conditions. The UManage Center will bring together experts in self-management of chronic disease, wearable and handheld symptom-monitoring technology, sleep, and human factors to advance the science of symptom self-management. This will achieve the goal of building the science of self-management of the symptoms of chronic conditions through wearable and hand held technology. The overall goal of the UManage Center is to build capacity for developing wearable and hand-held self-management technologies for the early self-identification and self-reporting of symptoms such as impaired sleep and fatigue. Our long-term goal is to use technology to improve self-management in order to reduce the burden of managing chronic conditions by helping individuals to effectively manage their multiple chronic conditions, thereby avoiding hospitalization and institutionalization. The specific aims for the Research Core of the UManage Center are as follows: 1) Expand the research capacity of nurse scientists to design, develop, and implement new technologies with multidisciplinary teams at the leading edge of scientific discovery to advance the science and practice of self-management of symptoms by individuals and families. 2) Build the research infrastructure to sustain long-term collaborative partnerships with internal and external teams to translate and adapt the use of handheld and wearable technologies. 3) Support pilot studies to build multidisciplinary teams to design, develop and test innovative technological tools to identify, monitor, and self-manage fatigue by individuals and families with acute and chronic conditions in the community. 4) Develop technological solutions for self-management of symptoms by individuals and families that result in the ability to self-manage with minimal surveillance from healthcare providers.

I am developing ASSISTwell, an interactive, tablet-based computer application designed to help community-dwelling older adults manage their chronic health problems and maintain high-level wellness independently. We are proposing an innovative, creative use of modestly priced emerging technology. ASSISTwell provides reminders, storage and display of information about the older adult’s activity, attitude, autonomy, social interaction, and health (medications, blood pressure, etc.). The application can be set up by a healthcare provider or by the individual user. The older adult will have control over his or her health information and decide who can have access to that information. ASSISTwell will interface with other applications on the tablet, such as an activity monitor, blood pressure cuff, social networking software, etc. ASSISTwell can be used with or without Internet access. With Internet access the older adult could choose to have a family member have access to their self-management information. Regular use of ASSISTwell could enhance an older adult’s ability to self-manage by providing regular feedback to them as well as provide information to a healthcare provider.

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Academic Background

  • BS: College of New Jersey (Trenton State College): Nursing
  • MS: Boston University: Neurologic Rehabilitation Nursing
  • PhD: New York University: Research and Theory Development
  • Post-Doctoral Fellowship: Yale University School of Nursing: Center for Self and Family Management for Vulnerable Populations. T32NR008346
Alkhawaldeh, M.; Jacelon, CS; Choi, J (submitted, 2016). Meta-Synthesis: the meaning of self-management. Journal of Advanced Nursing.
Jacelon, CS; Gibbs, MA; Ridgway, JVE (2016). Computer Technology For Self-Management: A Scoping Review. Journal of Clinical Nursing: 25(9/10):1179-1192. ISSN: 0962-1067.
Radhakrishnan, K.; Xie B.; Jacelon, CS (2015). Unsustainable Home Telehealth: A Texas Qualitative Study. Gerontologist. 2015 Apr 29. pii: gnv050. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 26035878
Jacelon, CS & Hanson, A (2013). Elder’s participation in the development of smart environments: An integrated review of the literature. Geriatric Nursing: 34(2) 116-122.
Radhakrishnan, K; Jacelon, CS; Bigelow, C; Roche, JP; Marquard, JL; & Bowles, KH (2013) Association of Comorbidities with home care service utilization of patient with heart failure while receiving telehealth. Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 28(3): 216-227.
Radhakrishnan, K., Jacelon, CS., Bigelow, C., Roche, J., Marquard, J., & Bowles, K. (2013). Epub ahead of print) “Use of homecare EHR to identify associations between patient characteristics and hospitalizations for heart failure patients using telehealth services” Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare.
Radhakrishnan, K; Jacelon, CS; & Roche, J (2012). Perceptions on the use of telehealth for heart failure by homecare nurses and patients: A mixed method study. Home Health Care Management & Practice, 24(4): 175-181.
Radhakrishnan, K & Jacelon, CS (2012). Impact of telehealth on patient self-management of heart failure: A review of literature. Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 27(1) 33-43.
Contact Info

College of Nursing
126 Skinner Hall
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Amherst, MA 01003-9292