A new article, Creating Age-Friendly Health Systems – A vision for better care of older adults, published in the journal Healthcare, describes the background, evidence-based changes, and testing, scale-up, and spread strategy that are part of the design of the Creating Age-Friendly Health Systems initiative. This movement, spearheaded by The John A. Hartford Foundation, is a collaborative effort between the Foundation, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), the American Hospital Association (AHA), leading geriatric care experts, and five innovative health systems.
This truly groundbreaking social movement aims to reach 20% of U.S. hospitals and health systems by 2020 with an age-friendly approach to care, with plans to reach additional hospitals and health systems in subsequent years. The work is guided and animated by a focus on various elements that constitute age-friendly care, including leadership committed to addressing ageism; reliable use of evidence-based care; staff who are specifically trained and proficient in the care of older adults; high-performing care teams focused on measurable outcomes; a systematic approach for coordinating care with other organizations and for engaging with patients and their families and caregivers; and a clear process for eliciting patient goals and priorities and using those goals to individualize care.
An aging society, increasing health costs, and a shifting health care landscape all provide urgency for this important work to redesign care for older adults.