Better Care for Older Adults
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital has joined a movement to improve health care for older adults, contributing to a goal of 20 percent of U.S. hospitals and health systems becoming age-friendly by 2020. Sentara Martha Jefferson now joins more than 100 health systems working to make care for older adults even more tailored to patients’ goals and preferences, and consistently of high-quality.
“Sentara Martha Jefferson has always been on the forefront of patient care, and that’s why we want to participate in this vital effort. We look forward to both sharing our best practices and learning what’s working for others,” said Jessica Cooper, BSN, RN, Senior Service Program Coordinator of Sentara Martha Jefferson. “The Age-Friendly Health Systems initiative is an important part of our overarching vision to provide every older adult with the best care possible.”
As part of the Age-Friendly Health Systems initiative, The John A. Hartford Foundation and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, in partnership with the American Hospital Association and the Catholic Health Association of the United States, are helping hospitals and other care settings implement a set of evidence-based interventions specifically designed to improve care for older adults.
The interventions can be tested and adapted by participating in what are called Age-Friendly Health Systems Action Communities. These are collaborative entities comprised of health care teams from all over the country who are committed to sharing data and learning together. All teams strive toward reliably implementing best practices across emergency departments, intensive care units, medical-surgical units, general wards, and primary and specialty care settings.
The initiative is based on a series of practices focused on addressing four essential elements of care for older patients:
- What Matters: Know and align care with each older adult's specific health outcome goals and care preferences including, but not limited to, end-of-life care, and across settings of care.
- Medication: If medication is necessary, use Age-Friendly medications that do not interfere with What Matters to the older adult, Mobility, or Mentation across settings of care.
- Mentation: Prevent, identify, treat, and manage dementia, depression, and delirium across settings of care.
- Mobility: Ensure that older adults move safely every day in order to maintain function and do What Matters.
“Sentara is committed to delivering better care to older adults in every setting,” said Cooper. “Joining the Age-Friendly Health Systems initiative will help us achieve this by decreasing avoidable hospital readmissions, improving patient outcomes, and greater patient and family satisfaction.”
By: Neil Mowbray