Palliative care is specialized medical care that focuses on relieving the symptoms, pain, and stress of serious illness, which is critically important for the older adult population. While often confused with being only about end-of-life and hospice care, palliative care provides the extra layer of support needed by people and their families dealing with serious illness at any point in their lives. Palliative care principles and practices can also help organizations achieve both better quality and financial viability.
We know that to some people, foundations simply seem like large ATM machines. If you have the right card and the right code, then voila, the money for a project or organization is dispensed and you’re done. But we, and many of our funder colleagues, strive to be more than this. We hope that we can add value to the work of grantees, supporting them in ways that go beyond the grant check.
I was invited to write an essay for the annual meeting of Grantmakers in Health, a membership organization for foundations like ours working to improve health and health care. The theme was “The Power of Voice,” and we were asked to share how we use the Foundation’s position and influence to advance our mission and how we amplify the voices of our grantees and stakeholders (for us, older adults). We wanted to share this essay about the Foundation’s communications and “noise-making” efforts and you can read other health foundations’ perspectives here.
We hope this provides some insight into our thinking and motivation for you to join us in raising your voice for better health of older adults.
Steven Dawson of PHI addresses the briefing on direct care workers held recently by Philanthropy New York.
The health of any given community is fragile and complex. It is greater than the sum of individual health outcomes or access to care. The health of a community rests upon an infrastructure that meets the changing demands and needs of its people within constrained resources. Increasingly, our infrastructure needs to address employment, economic stability, and rising health care costs.
This is especially true given the sea change occurring, with 10,000 people turning age 65 each day in the United States. The maturing of the boomers is fundamentally shifting our view of what a healthy community looks like.
From left, Dziadzia, Rachael Watman, and Rachael’s grandmother in 1971.
My grandfather, Albert Chura, was born on Valentine’s Day in 1907, on a boat en route to the United States from Poland. His family wanted to make a better life in America. And after a lifetime of doing so, at the age of 83, he died on my birthday.
Valentine’s Day always makes me think of Dziadzia (Polish for Grandfather and oddly pronounced Judgie—“Mom, that can’t be how you spell it!”)
Today is our 500th blog post on Health AGEnda. In another few months, we will have been working on this project for five years. We wanted today’s post to be special—and special for us means to be about better care for older adults and how the leaders we support are working to achieve it.
All of our grantees are special and all are doing vital work. One of the projects we didn’t start, but have come to value in our seven years of funding, is the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC). The work of the CAPC team and its leader, Diane E. Meier, MD, has taught us a great deal about how to think about being person-centered in the care of people with serious illness.
Ok. We did it. We collectively put Chris Langston’s “What-if-we-have-a-party-and nobody-shows” fears to bed.
We had hoped for 200 attendees at our launch of the Change AGEnts Initiative at the Gerontological Society of America’s (GSA) annual meeting last month. Huzzah! Close to 400 Change AGEnts showed and actively participated in the interactive activities designed to inspire conversation and connections.
In case the launch or the AGEnts initiative has been off your radar:
In health care for older adults (and for everyone really), we know where we want to end up.
It gets articulated in different ways, but generally speaking I think we can all agree we want care for our older loved ones that is coordinated, comprehensive, continuous, and geriatrically expert.
But the path that gets us to that destination is often unclear. To help guide us—the John A. Hartford Foundation and all other stakeholders in the business of health care—we have just funded three grant projects that we hope will shine a light on the way forward.
Our most recent annual report celebrated the John A. Hartford Foundation’s 30-year commitment to improving the health of older adults. As part of the online, interactive version of the report, we asked some of our long-time grantees to help us tell the Foundation’s story by sharing short and sweet video messages about our past successes, our current projects, and our new directions.
We want to highlight a few of these brief video clips, each only about one minute long, and invite you to browse and share the other messages in our dynamic online annual report.
In this first video, David Reuben, director of the Multicampus Program in Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology and director of the Hartford Center of Excellence in Geriatric Medicine at UCLA, points out the changes he’s seen over the past three decades in how geriatrics is incorporated into medical student education. Dr. Reuben was a beneficiary of the 1983 Hartford Geriatrics Faculty Development Awards, Hartford’s earliest program to build up the field of geriatrics.
Nearly 400 Change AGEnts – individuals who have been touched by a Hartford grant – joined in the evening’s activities to connect with each other and begin identifying ways to change health care practice to improve the health of older adults.
Our goal was to create an interactive, innovative, inspiring, interdisciplinary event focused on how we can all work together to change health care. Thanks to the incredible enthusiasm and energy in the room, we believe we succeeded.
Greetings from New Orleans and the 2013 Gerontological Society of America (GSA) meeting. As usual, many John A. Hartford Foundation staff are at the meeting to learn from the experts in the field, to work with our grantees, and to answer questions from anyone interested in improving the care of older adults.
We are particularly excited about the launch of our new Change AGEnts program. Anyone ever associated with a Hartford-funded project is invited to join us at the Change AGEnts Initiative launch event on Friday, Nov. 22, from 6:30-8p.m. (Sheraton Hotel, Grand Ballroom C). Visit our Change AGEnts page to RSVP and learn more!
Of course, we are also very proud of the accomplishments of our current grantees and friends. I’d like to recognize several who are being honored here this week.