Area providers join movement to improve older adults’ healthcare

April 6, 2021

Health systems in Delaware are recognizing the importance of addressing the health needs of the state’s rapidly growing number of older adults by participating in a movement to better identify and address their unique care requirements.

Currently, 10 hospitals, medical practices, convenient care clinics and/or nursing homes in Delaware have joined Age-Friendly Health Systems.

Funded by The John A. Hartford Foundation and led by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, in partnership with the American Hospital Association and the Catholic Health Association of the United States, the Age-Friendly Health Systems movement prioritizes what matters most to older adults. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the urgency among health systems to prioritize age-friendly care. From March 2020 through December 2020, 1,671 U.S. healthcare sites joined the effort, bringing the total number of sites to 1,956.

“The rapid growth of the age-friendly care movement means that older adults in Delaware have a better chance at receiving high-quality, evidence-based care that is tailored to what matters most to them,” said Terry Fulmer, PhD, RN, FAAN, president of JAHF. “As COVID-19 has demonstrated, we must prioritize the care of older adults across all care settings to ensure coordinated, evidence-based, age-friendly care is delivered to those who need it most. We are incredibly grateful to IHI, our other partners, and all Age-Friendly Health Systems participants for their work to make healthcare age-friendly, especially during this terrible pandemic.”

Healthcare treatment decisions that help older adults achieve what matters most to them – like daily walks without pain, having the energy for gardening, or talking with grandchildren while feeling clear-headed – result in healthier aging, according to the movement. When healthcare providers focus on the 4Ms of age-friendly care for older adults – what Matters, Medication, Mentation (memory and mood), and Mobility – they reduce harm, improve health outcomes, and lower healthcare costs, according to JAHF and IHI.

“There has never been a more critical time to prioritize adoption of evidence-based care of older adults,” said Kedar Mate, MD, president and CEO of IHI. “We are learning and improving care daily through the Age-Friendly Health Systems movement, and that will fortify our healthcare systems for the future. I am heartened by the increase in age-friendly participants and their commitment to better care for older adults.”

Local participants in the Age-Friendly Health Systems movement in Delaware as of January 2021 include Beebe Healthcare and the Margaret H. Rollin Lewes Campus, Lewes.

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