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Institute for Healthcare Improvement Announces New Age-Friendly Action Community

Hospitals and health care practices invited to improve care of older adults, learning from IHI and one another, beginning in March 2020

With health care teams from all 50 states now engaged in adopting reliable, evidence-based care of older adults in hospitals and outpatient settings, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) has announced the next opportunity for health systems to engage in this work through an Age-Friendly Health Systems Action Community, to take place from March through October 2020.

The Age-Friendly Health Systems movement is led by The John A. Hartford Foundation and IHI in partnership with the American Hospital Association (AHA) and the Catholic Health Association of the United States. Becoming age-friendly means reliable practice of four evidence-based interventions, known as the 4Ms: asking what matters to older adults; making sure medications are helpful, not harmful to patients; attending to mentation, including delirium, depression, and dementia; and ensuring mobility so older adults can maintain their function.

An Action Community is made up of teams from health systems across the country who come together to advance their reliable practice of the 4Ms. Participants start with the definition of an Age-Friendly Health System, then identify where the 4Ms are already in practice in their health system and use the Model for Improvement to test and learn their way into reliable implementation of the 4Ms. The teams learn from expert faculty and each other during an in-person meeting and monthly webinars.

“We see the Action Community as an ‘on ramp’ for hospital-based teams, such as emergency departments or intensive care units, and ambulatory teams, such as primary care practices or specialty clinics,” says Leslie Pelton, MPA, senior director at IHI. “It’s a great opportunity to accelerate practice of the 4Ms by learning from the successes of other teams and from faculty with deep expertise in the 4Ms.”

More than 450 teams from hospitals and health care practices are at various stages of this work, representing every state. To date, 269 hospitals and health care practices have been recognized as Age-Friendly Health Systems — Participants, meaning they have committed to putting the 4Ms into practice and had IHI review their plans. Of this total, 118 are further recognized as Age-Friendly Health Systems — Committed to Care Excellence, for having shown exemplary alignment with the elements of the 4Ms Framework and for calculating the number of older adults reached with the 4Ms over at least a three-month time period.

One of the first health systems to be recognized was Baystate Health in Massachusetts. Maura Brennan, MD, who leads Baystate Health’s Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program, recently reflected on her team’s experience in an Action Community. “Through this process, our teams developed confidence around data collection and quality improvement. Most importantly, our care improved as we focused on reliable and consistent performance,” she says.

There is no fee to join an Age-Friendly Health Systems Action Community.

In December, IHI received a $6.1 million grant from The John A. Hartford Foundation to continue scaling up the Age-Friendly Health Systems movement with the goal of recognizing 2,500 hospitals and health care practices and 100 postacute settings by the end of June 2023.

Three cochairs were recently named to provide guidance and oversight: Donald Berwick, MD, MPP, is president emeritus and senior fellow at IHI and former administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; Jonathan Perlin, MD, PhD, is president of clinical services, and chief medical officer of HCA (Hospital Corporation of America), based in Nashville, Tennessee; and Faith Mitchell, PhD, is an institute fellow at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C. They, along with other members of the multidisciplinary Age-Friendly Health Systems Advisory Group, will serve to guide the movement as it grows across the country.

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Source: Institute for Healthcare Improvement