Health AGEnda

Tools You Can Use: An Online Educational Series Focusing on Dementia in Older Adults

Caregiving_DementiaAbout a year ago, we posted a holiday gift for you—a Tools You Can Use blog that featured a free toolkit with evidence-based resources for staff in senior living communities promoting non-pharmacologic strategies to address behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia.

We got a lot of response to that post. A lot, like almost 6,000 hits. Clearly, people are hungry for resources that address the needs of older adults with dementia. So in this spirit, we share another recently developed Tools Use Can Use, a continuing education online dementia series focusing on older adults that was created by the Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence at Arizona State University (ASU); this work is supported by Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust.

The series, called Caring for Persons with Alzheimer’s disease and Other Related Dementias and their Families Across the Continuum of Care, features four online, self-paced learning modules focusing on specific stages of dementia. The series aims to increase the knowledge and skills of nursing and other healthcare professionals to provide optimal dementia care and family support during all stages of the illness.

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Challenging Change AGEnts to Realize Promise of Improved Care for Older Adults

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The opening session of the Hartford Change AGEnts Conference in Philadelphia last week.

Last week was the capstone of the first-year rollout of the Hartford Change AGEnts Initiative. This projects aims to engage and support all prior John A. Hartford Foundation health and aging grantees to focus on making systematic, large-scale practice change in the care of older Americans.

More than 160 Change AGEnts converged on Philadelphia for an intensive, day-and-a-half conference that was packed from start to finish with opportunities to learn, share knowledge, and network with others from different parts of the country and different disciplines. It was an energizing experience, not only because it gathered so much of the Hartford Foundation’s most precious assets—its people—in one place, but also because we learned more about the work already underway to improve care. We also saw new relationships and ideas emerge that will advance our mission.

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A Positive Step Toward Dealing with Postoperative Confusion

postoperative_delirium_cover_300pIn June 2011, I wrote about my then-80-year-old father’s experiences with post-operative confusion — otherwise known as delirium — following triple bypass surgery. Three-and-a-half years later, that post continues to draw thousands of readers every month, along with comments that express the frustration and heartbreak that is still all too common among families dealing with the issue.

So I’m pleased to share the news that our colleagues at the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) have released a guideline for health care professionals that I hope will greatly reduce the confusion and frustration so many older adults and their families have to endure as a result of failures to prevent, identify, or properly manage delirium after surgery.

The new Clinical Practice Guideline for Postoperative Delirium in Older Adults offers a framework that will enable hospital systems and health care professionals to implement actionable, evidence-based interventions, both nonpharmacologic and drug-based, to improve delirium prevention and treatment.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

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Best wishes for a happy, healthy Thanksgiving from Health AGEnda and the John A. Hartford Foundation.

Steve-Abramovich_100pAnd we give thanks for those who have touched our lives and made them better, including our dear colleague Steve Abramovich, who passed away four years ago today.

Share Your Family Caregiving Story

Caregiving_Walk_400pAre you a family caregiver of an older adult or a health care provider who works with family caregivers? Have you seen the challenges of caregiving up close and discovered ways of overcoming them?

If you said yes, you have an important story to tell and we want you to share it.

Today, we launched our second annual John A. Hartford Foundation story contest, and this year our theme is “Better Caregiving, Better Lives: Real Life Strategies and Solutions.”

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Hartford Foundation and CMMI Work Together to Spread Hospital at Home Model

Caregiving_400pFor two decades, the John A. Hartford Foundation has invested in the development and spread of the Hospital at Home model of care, which provides safe, high-quality, hospital-level care to older adults with select conditions in the comfort of their own home.

Over those years, studies have consistently shown that the model delivers improved care and outcomes at lower costs. But adoption has been limited, leading us to conclude that Hospital at Home was ahead of its time.

Now, its time has come. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI), part of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), awarded a $9.6 million Health Care Innovation Award to the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai—in consultation with Johns Hopkins University—to test a version of Hospital at Home called the Mobile Acute Care Team (MACT).

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Hartford Grantees Recognized at GSA

2014_GSA_Meeting_Logo_300pFor almost 20 years, the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) has been one of the John A. Hartford Foundation’s key grantee partners.

The organization served first as the home of the Geriatric Social Work Initiative (GSWI), then as the coordinating center for the National Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence (NHCGNE) , and most recently, as the basecamp of the Hartford Change AGEnts Initiative.

So the GSA annual meeting, being held this week in Washington, DC, is a tremendous opportunity to connect with long-standing friends and meet new ones in the field of aging, as well as to check in on long-ago grants and plan new ones.

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Tools You Can Use: The Quality Care Through a Quality Workforce Toolkit

megaphone_illustration_300pWe were introduced to Sally and her daughter Edna last year in a video from our grantee Community Catalyst. I learned recently that Sally has since passed away, but I am so grateful that her and her daughter’s story lives on.

It embodies the promise of the Voices for Better Health initiative, which advocates for quality care for low-income older adults and younger disabled people dually enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid, as Sally was.

And fortunately, as states rapidly move to integrate Medicare and Medicaid financing and care for the “duals” population, advocates from Voices for Better Health and anyone concerned about people like Sally have a new resource.

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Adventures in Choosing Wisely

Amy Berman prepares for her image guided radiation therapy.

Amy Berman prepares for her image guided radiation therapy.

I live with stage IV cancer—cancer that has spread to the far reaches of my body, an incurable disease, a terminal diagnosis. But if you saw me—if our carts randomly bumped into each other in the supermarket—you would never think I live with serious illness.

And let me add that I feel as well as I look, just great.

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Pitting Older Adults Against Children in Funding Debate Is a Zero-Sum Game

GIA_photo_contest_park_lake_400pThe house is burning with a child and his elderly grandmother inside. Which one should be saved?

Too often, this feels like the question being posed when thinking about the allocation of resources, whether through policy action or philanthropic investments. But this is the wrong question. In most cases, there is no need for this intergenerational Sophie’s choice.

This false war-between-the-generations framing gets used both in the media—as we saw last year from one of health care’s favorite provocateurs—and in everyday conversations with people who are generally supportive of our mission to improve the health of older adults.

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