In Memoriam: Rosalie A. Kane, Ph.D.

Professor Rosalie Kane was a tireless, creative scholar who consistently advocated for older persons with chronic health needs to continue to enjoy a “life worth living.” As a gerontologist and social work scientist, Dr. Kane sought to change the narrative of how we understand, measure, and optimize the quality of care for and quality of life for older persons and their care partners. Her expansive research portfolio encompassed quality of nursing home care and home care, evaluation of novel residential models of care, and policy analysis. Her work took on a national scope.

Rosalie A. Kane, Ph.D., Professor of Social Work at the University of Minnesota and pioneer of research in quality of life in long-term care, passed away on May 5th, 2020.

Among her many accomplishments and accolades, she directed the National Long-Term Care Resource Center for 20 years at the University of Minnesota, received the University of Minnesota Distinguished Women Scholars Award in Social Sciences for 2007, and was inducted into the American Academy of Social Work in 2012. One could make a strong case that her science and advocacy was central to the nursing home reform movement of the past 35 years and elevated person-centered care from a concept to something that was readily achievable in residential care environments.

At the time of her passing, Joseph Gaugler, Ph.D., Professor and Robert L. Kane Endowed Chair in Long-Term Care and Aging, shared: “My understanding of Rosalie’s impact on long-term care quality was made abundantly clear when I traveled to Australia to present at the national Dementia Forum there in 2018. As part of my trip, I visited several nursing homes in Sydney. The Executive Director of one, Montefiore, was very excited to demonstrate a visual model of their care philosophy. Their staff and leadership had participated in a retreat where they constructed 12 collages representing their 12 care principles. And what were those principles based on? Rosalie’s foundational work on quality of life in long-term care. It became apparent to me the incredible reach of Rosalie’s work to better the day-to-day lives of people living in residential care environments.”

Tetyana Shippee, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the School of Public Health, reflected: “I am saddened by the news of Rosalie’s passing and will miss her. She and I shared a passion for improving the quality of life and dignity for older people. We became friends and collaborators on various projects. Rosalie and Bob also got to know my family, including my parents when they visited from Ukraine, and Rosalie was always a gracious and generous hostess. Rosalie loved her family and always shared the new accomplishments of her grandkids and children. I last saw Rosalie at LeadingAge Institute in February of 2020, where I presented on the work I am doing on the Assisted Living Report Card. She came to my session, had lots of good questions, and stayed to talk afterward. I hope to keep Bob and Rosalie’s memory alive by continuing this work.”

A Tribute to Rosalie Kane

The Journal of Gerontological Social Work dedicated a special issue celebrating Dr. Rosalie Kane’s legacy and contributions: “A Tribute to Rosalie Kane: Honoring her Life and Work as a Scholar, Mentor, and Social Worker in Gerontology.”

Source: Volume 64, 2021 – Issue 1

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