Health AGEnda

The Inextricable Link between the Eldercare Workforce and Family Caregiving

home_health_care_worker_shutterstock_71584378_400p

Editor’s Note: This post also appears on the Eldercare Workforce Alliance blog, which we encourage our readers to follow. 

Are you a caregiver? Sooner or later, caregiving touches us all.

Continue reading

image_print

Charting Vital Directions in Health Care for the Next Administration

vd-mc-logo-final-300x300This year’s tumultuous campaign season has been riveting. However, Election Day will soon come and go, and our attention will turn from debates and proposals to the actual policy actions of our newly elected executive and legislative leaders.

Health care, which will likely soon approach nearly 20 percent of gross domestic product, will undoubtedly be among the top policy concerns for our new administration and Congress. The critical question will be how our leaders understand this complex topic and prioritize the directions our country should take. The question is relevant for all of us—health systems leaders, clinicians, advocates, consumers, and philanthropy.

Will we, for example, acknowledge and prepare for the 10,000 baby boomers who turn 65 every day and who are living longer than ever before? (A tremendous success story for humanity, by the way.) Will we focus attention in the right way on the 5 percent of people whose care accounts for 50 percent of costs because of their complex health and social needs?

Continue reading

image_print

National Strategy Needed to Support Invisible Heroes of Health Care—Family Caregivers of Older Adults

Click image to view or download a PDF of the full report.

Click image to view or download a PDF of the full report.

For far too long, the nearly 18 million family caregivers of older adults in the United States have been largely invisible to policymakers and our health care system, despite filling an absolutely essential role. The contributions these modern-day heroes make to the care of older adults is indispensable, and often comes at a significant cost to their own health, well-being, and financial security.

Families Caring for an Aging America, the sweeping new report from the blue-ribbon committee convened by the prestigious National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, offers a clear, comprehensive, and compelling rationale for creating a national strategy to elevate the position of family caregivers within our health care system.

Continue reading

image_print

Person-Centered Care: Learning What Truly Matters in Medicine

Image (002)

Chandulal Patel, grandfather of author Kevin Cordeiro.

Editor’s Note: With back-to-school season in full swing, we are pleased to share this post from Kevin Cordeiro, one of our summer interns who aspires to be a physician and has just returned to Boston University. 

During my sophomore year of high school, my grandparents moved in with my family. Lucky for me, my grandfather was an avid fantasy football player so it was great having someone to confer with on fantasy team decisions.

Continue reading

image_print

Remembering the Needs of Older Adults in the Opioid Debate:
A Conversation with Terry Fulmer and Cary Reid

opioids_shutterstock_343682381_400pAmerica’s opioid epidemic has reached crisis proportions, enough so that last week the United States Surgeon General took the unprecedented step of sending a letter  to 2.3 million American health care professionals asking them to take a pledge to “turn the tide” on the opioid crisis.

Relieving pain is an essential element of good care, and we are appropriately reminded that the use of these powerful medications requires precision, caution, and perspective.

But something very important is missing from this prescription: a recognition of the needs and health challenges of older adults.

Continue reading

image_print

Floods, Fires, and Zika: Emergency Preparedness Must Include Older Adults

wildfire_shutterstock_235607584_400pThis summer we have witnessed catastrophic flooding in Louisiana, raging wildfires in California, and the rapid spread of the Zika virus. These frightening events should remind us about the importance of emergency preparedness. For those of us in the field of aging, these emergencies obligate us to remind everyone about their often outsized effects on older adults and the extra preparations needed for the safety of our aging population.

Flood_Katrina_shutterstock_548713_300p

Flooding in Louisiana during Hurricane Katrina.

With the floods in Louisiana, the worst natural disaster to hit the U.S. since Hurricane Sandy, the numbers are staggering. At least 40,000 homes have been damaged, more than 30,000 people had to be rescued, and more than 8,000 people were in shelters last week, including many older adults. Four nursing homes in the Baton Rouge area were evacuated. The death toll attributed to the floods sadly rose to 13 this past weekend with the most recent victim a 93-year old woman who contracted pneumonia after inhaling flood water.

Continue reading

image_print

Innovative Tool Characterizes “What it Takes” to Implement Evidence-Based Practices

Patient receiving Collaborative Care depression treatment

Patient receiving Collaborative Care depression treatment

Editor’s Note: Tess Grover, a Research Coordinator for the Division of Population Health in the University of Washington’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, co-authored this blog post.

Since 2013, the University of Washington AIMS Center and The John A. Hartford Foundation have partnered to increase access to effective, evidence-based depression treatment for older people living in rural, medically underserved areas through the Social Innovation Fund initiative. Together we are helping Federally Qualified Health Centers in the western United States implement the highly effective Collaborative Care model.

Continue reading

image_print

Southern Maine Agency on Aging Wins First Business Innovation Award at n4a Conference

SMAA Full Color Logo_300pIn recognition of its successful collaboration with a health care system, we are proud to announce that the Southern Maine Agency on Aging (SMAA) is the first winner of The John A. Hartford Foundation Business Innovation Award. We congratulate SMAA for its bold, transformative work to improve the quality of life for older adults and/or people with disabilities through this sustainable business partnership.

The award was presented recently at the annual conference of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a), which–along with its partners at the American Society on Aging (ASA), Independent Living Research Utilization/National Center for Aging and Disability, Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley/Healthy Living Center of Excellence, and Partners in Care Foundation—is working under a three-year John A. Hartford Foundation grant to support an initiative to successfully build and strengthen partnerships between social service agencies and health care systems and health plans. The goal is to expand access by older adults to evidence-based programs that help them live with dignity and independence in their homes and communities as long as possible.

Rani Snyder, right, presents the first John A. Hartford Foundation Business Innovation Award to Larry Gross, CEO of the Southern Maine Agency on Aging.

Rani Snyder, right, presents the first John A. Hartford Foundation Business Innovation Award to Larry Gross, CEO of the Southern Maine Agency on Aging.

Continue reading

image_print

Quality Care for People with Serious Illness is about Responsibility and Dignity

JAHF President Terry Fulmer, right, with Tom Koutsoumpas, co-founder of the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care (C-TAC) and President and CEO of the National Partnership for Hospice Innovation (NPHI), at the Roundtable meeting.

JAHF President Terry Fulmer, right, with Tom Koutsoumpas, co-founder of the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care (C-TAC) and President and CEO of the National Partnership for Hospice Innovation (NPHI), at the Roundtable meeting.

John A. Hartford Foundation President Terry Fulmer and I recently participated in the inaugural meeting of the Roundtable on Quality Care for People with Serious Illness, which was held at the National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine (formerly known as the Institute of Medicine).

As I listened to the impressive group of highly knowledgeable and dedicated health care professionals, patients, and caregivers discuss this important topic, I found myself thinking about my mother. She is obsessed with end-of-life planning. Maybe obsessed is too strong a word, but she does talk about it a lot, and she feels strongly about her preferences in the face of serious illness or critical care.

Continue reading

image_print

Five Foundations Join Forces to Improve Care for Chronically Ill Older Adults with Complex Care Needs

5F Social Share V2_400pThe John A. Hartford Foundation has joined with four other outstanding foundations, all dedicated to transforming health care, to form an exciting new collaborative effort that will accelerate changes in our health care delivery system to improve care for high-need, high-cost patients with complex conditions.

This is both a moral imperative and our best opportunity to achieve a more financially sustainable health care system.

We all know someone—an aging mother or father, grandparent, brother or sister, dear friend or neighbor—who struggles with managing several chronic medical conditions. It could be a combination of diseases including diabetes, heart disease, cancer, or dementia, just to name a few. Many of these individuals also have limited ability to care for themselves independently or they might face complex social needs such as poor access to healthy food or housing.

Continue reading

image_print