People are living longer, and in the U.S., the aging of the baby boomers is creating a population of older adults that is increasing rapidly. More than 46 million Americans are ages 65 and older, and that number is projected to double to more than 98 million by 2060.
To ensure that older adult patients receive quality care – care that anticipates their needs and engages them and their families in health care planning – the AHA’s Health Research & Educational Trust is partnering with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and the Catholic Health Association of the United States, with leadership and funding from the John A. Hartford Foundation, to create age-friendly health systems. This initiative uses a new “4M” practice model to address the unique health care needs of older adults. The model focuses on what matters, medications, mentation, and mobility.
Five health systems are testing this new approach in hospitals as well as in long-term care, ambulatory, and post-acute settings. Their initial action steps are beginning to make a positive difference, including redeploying and prioritizing existing resources; aligning critical quality and safety interventions; and increasing utilization of cost-effective services.
We’ll all be older adults someday, and this initiative is part of the AHA’s efforts to improve the health of people at every life stage and in communities across the country. You can learn more by visiting www.aha.org/agefriendly and downloading the “Creating Age-Friendly Health Systems” issue brief with more information and case examples.