Health AGEnda

Blazing a Trail to Better Care for Older Adults

OAMLogoColor_400pIn 1965, the Older Americans Act set in motion a new network of largely community-based social services and supports to help older adults remain healthy and independent, living in their homes and communities as long as possible.

On April 19, 2016, after legislation garnered bipartisan support from both houses of Congress, President Obama signed the latest and long-overdue reauthorization of the Older Americans Act. This is great news for millions of older adults, and truly a cause for celebration as we embark on Older Americans Month in May. This year’s theme, appropriately enough, is “Blaze a Trail.” And it is one that resonates deeply with all of us at The John A. Hartford Foundation, given our own trailblazing work in improving the care of older adults.

Why the Older Americans Act Matters

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The Cow Skull, Airport Security, and Lessons Learned from My 13 Years at The John A. Hartford Foundation

Rachael Watman shows off her prized cow skull, as a passing plane causes dog Rebel to wonder how the skull ever got through airport security.

Rachael Watman shows off her prized cow skull, as a passing plane causes dog Rebel to wonder how the skull ever got through airport security.

In May, I will leave The John A. Hartford Foundation to become the Vice President of Programs at the Rita & Alex Hillman Foundation. Naturally, I’ve spent time reflecting on my 13 years here. I’ve learned many lessons, gathered best practices, and worked with some of the smartest people in the nation.

The memory that stands out, however, involves a cow skull.

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Institutional Long-Term Care:
A John A. Hartford Foundation Change AGEnts Issue Brief

This is the sixth in a series of seven issue briefs.

This is the sixth in a series of seven issue briefs.

The John A. Hartford Foundation Change AGEnts Initiative accelerates sustained practice change that improves the care of older adults. It does this by harnessing the collective power of The John A. Hartford Foundation’s interprofessional community of scholars, clinicians, and health system leaders.

In December 2015, nearly 100 John A. Hartford Foundation Change AGEnts gathered in Philadelphia, PA to identify challenges and opportunities for improving care of older adults in several care settings and issue areas. Each group worked toward identifying actionable areas for John A. Hartford Foundation Change AGEnts, the Foundation, and colleagues in the field to pursue. The brief below represents the summary of the Institutional Long-Term Care group’s proceedings and should inform future work to create widespread and systemic changes in the care of older adults.The final issue brief in the series will be published on Health AGEnda in the coming weeks.

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Talking with Patients about End-of-Life Care:
New Poll Reveals How Physicians Really Feel

advance_care_talk_shutterstock_280364744_400pWe are excited to announce a new national poll released today that shows physicians clearly understand the importance of talking with older adults about end-of-life care, and that they overwhelmingly support a new Medicare benefit that reimburses them for holding advance care planning discussions with patients.

Very importantly, the poll also provides valuable insights into some of the barriers that keep physicians from having advance care planning conversations. The survey of primary care and specialist physicians in 50 states was supported by The John A. Hartford Foundation and our wonderful partners at the California Health Care Foundation and Cambia Health Foundation. We will delve even further into the barriers we uncovered, as well as strategies for overcoming them, with a series of interprofessional focus groups of health care providers later this year.

CHCF Logo_300pThe survey released today—Conversation Stopper: What’s Preventing Physicians from Talking with Patients about End-of-Life and Advance Care Planning?—opens a window to the personal views, feelings, and even fears of physicians concerning some of the most sensitive and important interactions they have with patients.

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Coming Home

Rani Snyder, MPA

Rani Snyder, MPA, Program Director, The John A. Hartford Foundation

Nothing pleases me more than having the opportunity to tell my colleagues and the world at large that I am the new Program Director for The John A. Hartford Foundation. And nothing could be truer than to say that the Foundation has not just shaped, but has actually determined the course of my professional life.

Like a parent guiding and teaching, the Foundation put me on a path and gave me the freedom to leave the nest and find my way—gaining valuable experience and maturity along the journey. Now, I have come back home.

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Acute Care:
A John A. Hartford Foundation Change AGEnts Issue Brief

This is the fifth in a series of seven issue briefs.

This is the fifth in a series of seven issue briefs.

The John A. Hartford Foundation Change AGEnts Initiative accelerates sustained practice change that improves the care of older adults. It does this by harnessing the collective power of The John A. Hartford Foundation’s interprofessional community of scholars, clinicians, and health system leaders.

In December 2015, nearly 100 John A. Hartford Foundation Change AGEnts gathered in Philadelphia, PA to identify challenges and opportunities for improving care of older adults in several care settings and issue areas. Each group worked toward identifying actionable areas for John A. Hartford Foundation Change AGEnts, the Foundation, and colleagues in the field to pursue. The brief below represents the summary of the Acute Care group’s proceedings and should inform future work to create widespread and systemic changes in the care of older adults.The remaining issue briefs will be published on Health AGEnda in the coming weeks.

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Primary Care:
A John A. Hartford Foundation Change AGEnts Issue Brief

This is the fourth in a series of seven issue briefs.

This is the fourth in a series of seven issue briefs.

The John A. Hartford Foundation Change AGEnts Initiative accelerates sustained practice change that improves the care of older adults. It does this by harnessing the collective power of The John A. Hartford Foundation’s interprofessional community of scholars, clinicians, and health system leaders.

In December 2015, nearly 100 John A. Hartford Foundation Change AGEnts gathered in Philadelphia, PA to identify challenges and opportunities for improving care of older adults in several care settings and issue areas. Each group worked toward identifying actionable areas for John A. Hartford Foundation Change AGEnts, the Foundation, and colleagues in the field to pursue. The brief below represents the summary of the Primary Care group’s proceedings and should inform future work to create widespread and systemic changes in the care of older adults.The other issue briefs will be published on Health AGEnda over the following weeks. 

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Three New Grants Totaling $6.7 Million Represent Powerful Opportunities to Improve Care of Older Adults

From right, Amy Berman, John A. Hartford Foundation President Terry Fulmer, Jon Broyles of C-TAC, and Bud Hammes of Respecting Choices engage in a convening held in June 2015 by JAHF on “End of Life and Serious Illness.”

The John A. Hartford Foundation’s dedicated staff is constantly monitoring the dynamic health care landscape to identify powerful opportunities for large-scale change that will result in better care and better lives for all older adults. I am very pleased to announce that our Trustees last week approved three new grants totaling $6.7 million that leverage these opportunities.

One of the keys to effective grantmaking is to partner with innovative leaders at the very top of their fields. That is certainly true of the Foundation’s new grants.

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Modern Day Heroes: Celebrating Family Caregivers of Older Adults and Their Caring Superpowers

The John A. Hartford Foundation President Terry Fulmer, at the Rockefeller Center display window.

The John A. Hartford Foundation President Terry Fulmer, at the Rockefeller Center display window.

Every day, millions of older adults receive assistance from their very own personal superheroes: the friends and family caregivers who help coordinate medical appointments, prepare meals, give medications, and perform myriad other critical caregiving tasks.

Even without capes and masks, and despite providing $470 billion worth of care annually, these modern day heroes often go unrecognized. Too often, they also go without adequate support and training, which can be dangerous for them as well as the older adults in their care.

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End of Life and Serious Illness:
A John A. Hartford Foundation Change AGEnts Issue Brief

This is the third in a series of seven issue briefs.

This is the third in a series of seven issue briefs.

The John A. Hartford Foundation Change AGEnts Initiative accelerates sustained practice change that improves the care of older adults. It does this by harnessing the collective power of The John A. Hartford Foundation’s interprofessional community of scholars, clinicians, and health system leaders.

In December 2015, nearly 100 John A. Hartford Foundation Change AGEnts gathered in Philadelphia, PA to identify challenges and opportunities for improving care of older adults in several care settings and issue areas. Each group worked toward identifying actionable areas for John A. Hartford Foundation Change AGEnts, the Foundation, and colleagues in the field to pursue. The brief below represents the summary of the End of Life and Serious Illness group’s proceedings and should inform future work to create widespread and systemic changes in the care of older adults.The other issue briefs will be published on Health AGEnda over the following weeks. 

Continue reading

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