Health AGEnda

Three New Grants Totaling $6.7 Million Represent Powerful Opportunities to Improve 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.

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Modern Day Heroes: Celebrating Family Caregivers of Older Adults and Their Caring Superpowers

The John A. Hartford Foundation President Terry Fulmer, at the Rockefeller Center display window.

The John A. Hartford Foundation President Terry Fulmer, at the Rockefeller Center display window.

Every day, millions of older adults receive assistance from their very own personal superheroes: the friends and family caregivers who help coordinate medical appointments, prepare meals, give medications, and perform myriad other critical caregiving tasks.

Even without capes and masks, and despite providing $470 billion worth of care annually, these modern day heroes often go unrecognized. Too often, they also go without adequate support and training, which can be dangerous for them as well as the older adults in their care.

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End of Life and Serious Illness:
A John A. Hartford Foundation Change AGEnts Issue Brief

This is the third in a series of seven issue briefs.

This is the third in a series of seven issue briefs.

The John A. Hartford Foundation Change AGEnts Initiative accelerates sustained practice change that improves the care of older adults. It does this by harnessing the collective power of The John A. Hartford Foundation’s interprofessional community of scholars, clinicians, and health system leaders.

In December 2015, nearly 100 John A. Hartford Foundation Change AGEnts gathered in Philadelphia, PA to identify challenges and opportunities for improving care of older adults in several care settings and issue areas. Each group worked toward identifying actionable areas for John A. Hartford Foundation Change AGEnts, the Foundation, and colleagues in the field to pursue. The brief below represents the summary of the End of Life and Serious Illness group’s proceedings and should inform future work to create widespread and systemic changes in the care of older adults.The other issue briefs will be published on Health AGEnda over the following weeks. 

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Elder Justice:
A John A. Hartford Foundation Change AGEnts Issue Brief

This is the second in a series of seven issue briefs.

This is the second in a series of seven issue briefs.

Editor’s Note: Elder mistreatment is a serious and potentially fatal syndrome that has begun to get much-needed attention from the federal and private sectors. To continue building momentum and action toward eliminating elder mistreatment and making elder justice a reality, The John A. Hartford Foundation recently hosted two important convenings.

Just this month, on Feb. 12, the Foundation brought together elder justice thought leaders representing care delivery, policy, research, and philanthropy. The group discussed the state of practice in elder abuse assessment and intervention, and identified opportunities to accelerate the spread of evidence-based initiatives.

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Using Big Data to Improve Care for Older Adults

Dartmouth_Report_Cover_300p

Click on image above to view or download a PDF of the Dartmouth Atlas Project report.

To fulfill our mission of improving the care of older adults, it is critical to know what is working—and what is not—when it comes to health care for the nation’s growing number of older people. That is why The John A. Hartford Foundation supported a new report from the Dartmouth Atlas Project titled Our Parents, Ourselves: Health Care for an Aging Population.

“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.”

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Dementia Care:
A John A. Hartford Foundation Change AGEnts Issue Brief

This is the first in a series of seven issue briefs.

This is the first in a series of seven issue briefs.

The John A. Hartford Foundation Change AGEnts Initiative accelerates sustained practice change that improves the care of older adults. It does this by harnessing the collective power of The John A. Hartford Foundation’s interprofessional community of scholars, clinicians, and health system leaders.

In December 2015, nearly 100 John A. Hartford Foundation Change AGEnts gathered in Philadelphia, PA to identify challenges and opportunities for improving care of older adults in several care settings and issue areas. Each group worked toward identifying actionable areas for John A. Hartford Foundation Change AGEnts, the Foundation, and colleagues in the field to pursue. The brief below represents the summary of the Dementia Care group’s proceedings and should inform future work to create widespread and systemic changes in the care of older adults.The other issue briefs will be published on Health AGEnda over the following weeks.

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Dr. Eckstrom: ‘Cultural Shift’ Needed to Improve Care of Older Adults

Elizabeth Eckstrom, MD, MPH

Geriatrician Elizabeth Eckstrom, MD, MPH, shares her professional perspective on caregiving in the book she co-authored, The Gift of Caring.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and gift giving will abound. It makes me think of those who give the gift of selflessly caring for others, such as those family and friends who care for their older adult loved ones.

There are many resources to help these family caregivers. The Gift of Caring: Saving Our Parents from the Perils of Modern Healthcare is one new resource that shares both a personal and professional perspective on caring for older adults.

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Telling Our Story

Click on image to read the article.

Click on image to read the article.

A headline in Tuesday’s New York Times asks a very important question: “As the population ages, where are the geriatricians?

The story, by Katie Hafner, describes the shortage of geriatrics and gerontologic expertise in our health system today. It features the important and compelling work of our colleague Elizabeth Eckstrom, MD, and her team at Oregon Health and Science University, where we have funded a number of grant projects, notably in geriatric nursing and care models. The story also features comments from several John A. Hartford Foundation Change AGEnts who work every day to share their precious expertise in caring for older adults.

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Making Elder Justice a Reality

Click on image above to view or download the FrameWorks Institute report on elder justice.

Click on image above to view or download the FrameWorks Institute report on elder justice.

I had the privilege of presenting at a webinar last week titled “Making Elder Justice a Reality: The Federal and Philanthropic Perspectives,” the first in the new year of Grantmakers in Aging’s “Conversations with GIA” series. During his introductory remarks, GIA Chief Executive Officer John Feather described elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation as “a silent problem.”

How can that be?

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Tools You Can Use: New Collaborative Guideline Spotlights Optimal Care for Older Adults Undergoing Surgery

TS_121011_surgeons_400pMy 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.

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