While many of our legacy grant programs continue to support the development of leaders in the field of aging and health research and education (see this week’s earlier Health AGEnda post about our latest Hartford/VA social work research scholars), new and growing investments under the John A. Hartford Foundation’s current strategic plan are also nurturing leaders in aging and health practice and policy change.
As part of our Leadership in Action funding portfolio, we recently approved a $1.6 million grant to co-fund the Health and Aging Policy Fellows program, in partnership with The Atlantic Philanthropies. The program, which offers fellows the experience and skills necessary to make a positive contribution to the development and implementation of health policies that affect older Americans, has just announced its 2014-15 class and we welcome them to the Hartford family and our community of Change AGEnts.
With representatives from many of our legacy strategy programs, including the Archbold Pre-Doctoral Nursing Scholars, the Social Work Doctoral Fellows and the Jahnigen Scholars in surgical and related medical specialties, we are assured that many of our academic program alumni are right there with us in the shift to our current portfolio of strategies focused on taking geriatrics expertise and evidence and making real and lasting improvements in health care delivery for our aging population.
I bet every reader of Health AGEnda knows someone who is a family caregiver (many see one every day in the mirror). And I bet every family member or friend providing care to an older adult who needs assistance because of chronic disease or frailty has their stories of good and bad days—of feeling incredibly fulfilled and completely overwhelmed.
Caregivers have much in common with each other, and our policies and systems need several overarching improvements to address caregiver needs. That is why the John A. Hartford Foundation is supporting an Institute of Medicine study to lay out the top level policy and practice recommendations (For more information, read New Grants Target Policy and Practice Change.)
However, it is worth noting that not all caregiving is the same. A recent analysis funded by the John A. Hartford Foundation from the AARP Public Policy Institute and the United Hospital Fund points to the especially difficult circumstances of those who care for people with cognitive impairment (such asAlzheimer’s or other dementias) and/or behavioral health conditions (such as depression, anxiety or serious mental illness), referred to in the study together as “challenging behaviors.”
The most potent risk factor for heart disease is aging, according to the American College of Cardiology (ACC). Given how rapidly our population is aging, that’s sobering news indeed, especially when you consider that clinical practice guidelines rarely apply to older adults with multiple chronic conditions.
That means regardless of how experienced and skilled a cardiologist or other clinician may be in treating cardiovascular disease, they may not have received adequate training in how best to treat cardiovascular disease in older adults.
Fortunately, the American College of Cardiology has released the Essentials of Cardiovascular Care in Older Adults (ECCOA), a free, online self-assessment curriculum designed for cardiovascular specialists and other clinicians who care for older patients with cardiovascular disease. (Continuing education credits are available for physicians and nurses). The curriculum was developed with funding from a John A. Hartford Foundation grant.
Diane E. Meier, MD
Editor’s Note: For almost eight years, the John A. Hartford Foundation has partnered with Diane Meier, MD, to increase awareness of palliative care and make it more widely accessible.
In March, the Foundation’s Board of Trustees renewed our support for the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC) led by Dr. Meier to enable CAPC to transition to a more financially sustaining, revenue-generating model and develop a package of products to implement palliative care services in community-based clinics, nursing homes, and home care. We are pleased to share this excellent interview with Dr. Meier that first appeared on Kaiser Health News discussing a new pilot program that allows hospice patients to continue to receive life-prolonging treatment.
The nation’s four million home health aides, certified nurse aides, and personal care attendants are a lifeline for many older adults and people with disabilities. Our grantee, PHI, is the nation’s leading authority on the direct-care workforce, and they promote quality direct-care jobs as the foundation for quality care for elders and people with disabilities.
With our new grant, PHI is embarking on a campaign to rapidly scale up their work and double their “mission impact” to transform eldercare and disability services. In partnership with our long-time communications partners at SCP, they have developed what we think is an excellent example of an effective communications tool.
PHI’s new campaign brochure uses beautiful photography, plain but compelling language, and incorporates the voices of direct-care workers, the people they serve, and other stakeholders to tell their story.
From left, Cherie Brunker, Meg Wallhagen, Rosanne Leipzig, and Aanand Naik put their pieces of the puzzle together to complete the picture at the recent Change AGEnts event at the AGS annual meeting.
For the thousands of researchers and clinicians who have been a part of the John A. Hartford Foundation’s programs during the past three decades, we are pleased to invite you to put your geriatrics expertise to work by becoming an active Hartford Change AGEnt.
You can now enroll in the online Change AGEnts Community, where you can find other Change AGEnts and work together to make our health care system better for older adults and their families.
Dr. Bill Buron
In November 2013, Bill Buron, PhD, APRN, Clinical Assistant Professor and
Assistant Dean for Nursing at the College of Nursing NW Arkansas Program, began his term as Chair of the Hartford Gerontological Nursing Leaders (HGNL), assuming the helm from Casey Shillam, PhD, RN. I asked Bill, as leader of the 250-plus strong Hartford nursing organization, to reflect on the history of the HGNL and its future.
The work that HGNL does is vital, and what Dr. Buron has to say should be of interest to physicians, social workers, and everyone else who is working to improve the health of older adults.