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February 9, 1979

Hospital, high schools span 'age gap'

JAMA. 1979;241(6):551-552. doi:10.1001/jama.1979.03290320007005

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Hospitals and high schools usually have little in common. But the Sepulveda, Calif, Veterans Administration Hospital and three nearby high schools have a good thing going.

What it amounts to, said Howard F. Wallach, MD, at the recent Gerontological Society meeting in Dallas, is a spanning of at least one generation gap by bringing young visitors to the chronic care area. The mean age of the patients in the hospital's Nursing Home Care Unit is 68 years. The youngsters who come to visit them are in their midteens.

Wallach, who heads the Division of Geropsychiatry at the hospital, started the project four years ago with ten students from nearby Monroe High School and ten men who were patients in the chronic care unit. Now, he says, 80 students from three high schools participate each semester, visiting at least 80 patients.

The students receive school credit for their efforts, and so