In 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.
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.
“This report is really about success,” says Terry Fulmer, PhD, RN, FAAN, president of The John A. Hartford Foundation. “Life expectancy has almost doubled since the 1900s, from 40 years to 80 years today. The number of adults over age 65 also is projected to almost double in the coming decades, from 43.1 million in 2012 to 83.7 million by 2050. This is truly remarkable and something to celebrate. However, we now need to achieve the same level of success in meeting the care needs of this growing aging population.”
My 77-year old father underwent surgery two years ago and I recall how frightening it was for him, my mother, and our entire family. Unfortunately, our fear was realized when he had a terrible post-operative infection that sent him to the emergency room and on to a follow-up surgery.
Sadly, he and my mom were not given good hospital discharge instructions and they ignored signs of problems far too long. No follow-up appointment with his primary care provider had been set, either, which could have averted the complication (and to this day, I kick myself for not catching that).
It could have been much worse. For patients older than my father with more chronic conditions, even surgery that is technically perfect can be fraught with danger and poor outcomes without the application of geriatric best practices that address the whole-person needs of the patient.
As the new year approaches, we look forward to the new grant projects that promise to make 2016 an exciting time for the John A. Hartford Foundation, our grantees, and colleagues who are all working to improve the care of older adults! We have so much to celebrate that has already been accomplished and the momentum going forward is palpable.
I am pleased to let you know that last week, our Trustees, led by Board Chair Peggy Wolff, approved five grants totaling $6.7 million. These projects, while focusing on a range of settings where older adults need improved care, all have several important features in common.
Whether it is the emergency department (ED), nursing homes, or in primary care, these projects will each utilize the deep knowledge of our John A. Hartford Foundation network of experts in the care of older adults. And while a single organization serves as our official grantee for each, they all will be successful because of strong collaboration among multiple organizations that share a commitment to creating large-scale change to meet the needs of older adults, their families, and our entire society.
The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) has been one of the John A. Hartford Foundation’s key grantee partners for more than 20 years. The organization is now the home of the John A. Hartford Foundation Change AGEnts Initiative, which is helping interprofessional alumni of our programs work together in exciting new ways to make practice and policy changes that improve the care of older adults.
As a Fellow of the society who had the privilege of serving as president of the organization’s board, I know first-hand how important GSA is to the entire field of aging. The GSA annual scientific meeting has always been a highlight for me, and that’s especially true this year, as it’s my first time attending as President of the John A. Hartford Foundation. As always, I am thrilled to learn about the latest aging science across the spectrum of academic disciplines. And at this year’s conference in Orlando, I also get to engage with grantees to learn more about their work, and with leaders in the field to discuss the Foundation’s important efforts, which have often supported many of these individuals.
As it does every year, the GSA awards program features many of these Foundation-supported leaders among those being honored. We congratulate the following awardees and look forward to continuing to work with them and others to advance better care for our aging population:
Click image to view or download a PDF of the state-by-state report.
In health care, as in so much of life, where you live matters. Understanding geographic variation in health care has long been a useful tool for targeting our attention and making improvements where we need them most.
Thanks to a report card released earlier this month by the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC) and National Palliative Care Research Center, you can find out how well or poorly your state and geographic region is doing regarding equitable access to palliative care in hospitals. You can use this information to help advocate for better access in your state and at the national level.
This is the last in a series of six Health AGEnda posts on the 2014 Annual Report.
Editor’s Note: The John A. Hartford Foundation’s 2014 Annual Report features five profiles of Hartford Change AGEnts whose work is representative of the kinds of practice and policy change the initiative is making. Read Harnessing the Power of Hartford Change AGEnts for more on the Change AGEnts Initiative. Today, we meet Renée Markus Hodin, Carol Regan, and Gregg Warshaw, MD, of Community Catalyst, who are working to bring the perspectives of older adults and aging-expert health professionals to efforts to improve care for the vulnerable population eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. The John A. Hartford Foundation Board of Trustees recently approved a three-year, $1.5 million renewal grant to expand Community Catalyst’s work. This post concludes our special Health AGEnda series spotlighting the stories and videos of Hartford Change AGEnts profiled in the Annual Report.
As a geriatrician, Gregg Warshaw, MD, has watched with mounting frustration as older adults are bounced back and forth between nursing homes and hospitals—decisions often driven by the different financial models used by Medicare and Medicaid.
The Trustees of the John A. Hartford Foundation approved three grants totaling more than $3.28 million last week that we believe will lead to fundamental, long-term changes in the way care is delivered to older adults.
We renewed and expanded our work to ensure that the voices of older adults and aging-expert professionals are influencing debates about health care delivery through advocacy; we are supporting the development of quality measures and performance standards that support integrated, patient-centered, goal-based care that helps people to achieve their priority outcomes; and through the collaborative ReFraming Aging Initiative, we will counter the pervasive negative beliefs about aging that are barriers to improving the care of older people.
Under our Policy and Communications portfolio, the Board approved a three-year, $1.5 million renewal grant that will expand the partnership between aging-expert health care professionals and consumer advocates in the Voices for Better Health initiative. This project of Community Catalyst, a nonprofit, Boston-based health care advocacy organization, is working to ensure that integrated health plans for dually eligible Medicare/Medicaid individuals deliver high-quality care to this low-income, vulnerable population.
Whether we receive care, provide care, or coordinate care for a loved one, everyone benefits from improving the quality of jobs for America’s 2 million current home care workers and the millions more we’ll need to care for the growing number of older adults in the coming decades.
That’s why the recent ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit affirming the extension of federal labor protections to home care workers is an important victory not only for fairness, but for improving the quality of care for older adults and people living with disabilities.
The decision, handed down on Aug. 21, arrives as care needs for the country’s aging generation are expanding rapidly. PHI, the nation’s leading authority on the direct-care workforce, estimates that the demand for home care workers will increase 50 percent by 2022.