Pamela Z. Cacchione, PhD, CRNP, GNP, BC, FGSA, FAAN
Imagine being unable to see or hear well.
The glare from a table lamp irritates your eyes so much, you sit in the dark every evening. You see others move briskly in exercise class, but you can’t hear the directions. Then, anti-glare lenses or a simple pocket-sized amplifier help you rejoin everyday life. Pamela Z. Cacchione develops these practical nursing interventions for older adults. Her goal is to improve vision, hearing, functional status, and mental health.
Practical Research, National Leadership
These evidence-based interventions developed by Dr. Cacchione are part of a program funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research called Individualized Sensory Enhancement for the Elderly. One intervention involves improving lighting by adding contrast to fixtures, large remote controls, and lighted magnifiers to enhance vision. Another uses pocket amplifiers to assist hearing, as well as to screen for seniors who may do well with hearing aids.
Dr. Cacchione is also a clinician educator who works as the director of research and as a nurse practitioner addressing the mental health needs of the older adults enrolled in Mercy Living Independently for Elders – West Philadelphia. A past president of the Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association, Dr. Cacchione developed a proficiency statement for the top tier of advanced practice nurses caring for older adults.
“I want to encourage other nurses to love gerontology as much as I do, and enter the field to improve the lives of older adults.”
- PhD, St. Louis University,, 1998
- MSN, Marymount University,, 1987
- BSN, Villanova University,, 1984
Dr. Cacchione’s scholarship addresses three areas that impact social justice for older adults: Her teaching and research focuses on decreasing ageism and stigma associated with mental health conditions; her health policy work has focused on models of care for the dual eligible population such as Programs of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly and Managed Long-Term Services and Supports; and she has engaged in innovative work to improve post hospitalization wrap around services for the Medicaid population to decrease rehospitalizations and improve quality of life.
Mercy Living Independently for Elders – West Philadelphia is part of the federal Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly. The program provides comprehensive medical, health, recreational, and social services to promote independence at home—and an opportunity for nurse practitioner students to gain gerontology expertise.
As a clinician educator at Mercy Living Independently for Elders – West Philadelphia, Dr. Cacchione conducts cognitive and capacity assessments and works with Penn Nursing undergraduate and graduate students and clinicians. She screens older adults for depression and substance miss-use and intervenes in depression, psychosis, and other serious mental illnesses. Nurse-led interventions have been instrumental in keeping the rate of antipsychotic drug use – common in long-term care centers – low for program participants. This is important because these drugs increase stroke and heart attack risk in patients with dementia.
Opportunities to Learn and Collaborate at Penn Nursing
Dr. Cacchione is currently working with Penn Nursing students and colleagues on several projects, including studies of sleep and falls in older adults. Her work has also included collaborating with two doctoral students and a chaplain to investigate end-of-life preferences. She has worked with Penn Nursing gerontologist Mary Naylor, PhD, to integrate research findings into the nationally adopted Transitional Care Model developed by Naylor.
In 2016, Dr. Cacchione received the Penn Nursing Dean’s Award for Exemplary Teaching. She is a past recipient of Penn Nursing’s Barbara J. Lowery Doctoral Student Organization Faculty Award.
Selected Career Highlights
- Fellow, American Academy of Nursing
- Editor, Clinical Nursing Research
- Editorial board, Research in Gerontological Nursing
- Editorial board, Journal of Gerontological Nursing
- Fellow, Gerontological Society of America
- Elected convener, Nursing Special Interest Group, Gerontological Society of America
- Cacchione, P.Z. (in press). Disturbed Sensory Perception. In M.L. Maas, H. Butcher, K.C. Buckwalter, M.D. Hardy, T. Tripp-Reimer, & J.P. Specht (Eds.), Nursing care of older adults. St Louis, MO: Elsevier.
- Cacchione, P.Z. (2011). Sensory changes. In M. Bolt, E. Capezuti, T.T. Fulmer, D. Zwicker, & A. O’Meara (Eds.), Evidence-based geriatric nursing protocols for best practice. (4th Ed.)(pp). New York: Springer.
- Cacchione, P.Z., Willoughby, L.M., Langan, J.C., & Culp, K. (2011). Disaster strikes: Long-term care resident outcomes following a natural disaster. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 37(9), 16-24.
- Bradway, C. & Cacchione, P.Z. (2010). Teaching students strategies for assessing and managing urinary incontinence in older adults. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 36(7), 18-26.
- Cacchione, P.Z. (2010). Sensory changes and aging. Insight, 35(2), 24-25.
- Decker, S.A., Culp, K.R., Cacchione, P.Z. (2009). Evaluation of musculoskeletal pain management practices in rural nursing homes compared with evidence-based criteria. Pain Management Nursing, 10(2), 58-64.
- Culp, K. & Cacchione, PZ. (2008). Nutritional status and delirium in long-term care elders.. Applied Nursing Research, 21(2), 66-74.
- Cacchione, P.Z. (2007). Nursing care of older adults with age-related vision loss. In S. Crocker Houde (Eds.), Vision loss in older adults. (131-145). New York: Springer.
- Cacchione, P.Z. & Cacchione, P.J. (2007). End of life care of the older adult. In A.D. Linton & H.W. Lach (Eds.), Matteson & McConnell’s Gerontological nursing concepts and practices. (3rd Ed.)(712-738). Saint Louis, MO: Elsevier.
- Cacchione, P.Z. (2007). Sensory changes. In E. Capezuti, D. Zwicker, M. Mezey, T.T. Fulmer, D. Gray-Miceli, & M. Kluger (Eds.), Evidence-based geriatric nursing protocols for best practice. (3rd Ed.)(477-502). New York: Springer.