Health AGEnda

Happy Thanksgiving!


Best wishes for a happy, healthy Thanksgiving from Health AGEnda and the John A. Hartford Foundation.

Steve-Abramovich_100pAnd we give thanks for those who have touched our lives and made them better, including our dear colleague Steve Abramovich, who passed away four years ago today.

Share Your Family Caregiving Story

Caregiving_Walk_400pAre you a family caregiver of an older adult or a health care provider who works with family caregivers? Have you seen the challenges of caregiving up close and discovered ways of overcoming them?

If you said yes, you have an important story to tell and we want you to share it.

Today, we launched our second annual John A. Hartford Foundation story contest, and this year our theme is “Better Caregiving, Better Lives: Real Life Strategies and Solutions.”

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Hartford Foundation and CMMI Work Together to Spread Hospital at Home Model

Caregiving_400pFor two decades, the John A. Hartford Foundation has invested in the development and spread of the Hospital at Home model of care, which provides safe, high-quality, hospital-level care to older adults with select conditions in the comfort of their own home.

Over those years, studies have consistently shown that the model delivers improved care and outcomes at lower costs. But adoption has been limited, leading us to conclude that Hospital at Home was ahead of its time.

Now, its time has come. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI), part of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), awarded a $9.6 million Health Care Innovation Award to the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai—in consultation with Johns Hopkins University—to test a version of Hospital at Home called the Mobile Acute Care Team (MACT).

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Hartford Grantees Recognized at GSA

2014_GSA_Meeting_Logo_300pFor almost 20 years, the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) has been one of the John A. Hartford Foundation’s key grantee partners.

The organization served first as the home of the Geriatric Social Work Initiative (GSWI), then as the coordinating center for the National Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence (NHCGNE) , and most recently, as the basecamp of the Hartford Change AGEnts Initiative.

So the GSA annual meeting, being held this week in Washington, DC, is a tremendous opportunity to connect with long-standing friends and meet new ones in the field of aging, as well as to check in on long-ago grants and plan new ones.

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Tools You Can Use: The Quality Care Through a Quality Workforce Toolkit

megaphone_illustration_300pWe were introduced to Sally and her daughter Edna last year in a video from our grantee Community Catalyst. I learned recently that Sally has since passed away, but I am so grateful that her and her daughter’s story lives on.

It embodies the promise of the Voices for Better Health initiative, which advocates for quality care for low-income older adults and younger disabled people dually enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid, as Sally was.

And fortunately, as states rapidly move to integrate Medicare and Medicaid financing and care for the “duals” population, advocates from Voices for Better Health and anyone concerned about people like Sally have a new resource.

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Adventures in Choosing Wisely

Amy Berman prepares for her image guided radiation therapy.

Amy Berman prepares for her image guided radiation therapy.

I live with stage IV cancer—cancer that has spread to the far reaches of my body, an incurable disease, a terminal diagnosis. But if you saw me—if our carts randomly bumped into each other in the supermarket—you would never think I live with serious illness.

And let me add that I feel as well as I look, just great.

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Pitting Older Adults Against Children in Funding Debate Is a Zero-Sum Game

GIA_photo_contest_park_lake_400pThe house is burning with a child and his elderly grandmother inside. Which one should be saved?

Too often, this feels like the question being posed when thinking about the allocation of resources, whether through policy action or philanthropic investments. But this is the wrong question. In most cases, there is no need for this intergenerational Sophie’s choice.

This false war-between-the-generations framing gets used both in the media—as we saw last year from one of health care’s favorite provocateurs—and in everyday conversations with people who are generally supportive of our mission to improve the health of older adults.

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Health Services Research Needs Good Theory to Turn into Better Practice

HospitalOlderWoman_400pLast week, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a large and well-designed study of a post-hospital readmission reduction program called the “virtual ward,” which grew up in the UK and was tested by our cousins to the north in Toronto.

The model partakes of some elements of other evidence-based work done by John A. Hartford Foundation grantees, including Mary Naylor’s Transitional Care Model, the Society of Hospital Medicine’s Project BOOST, and Eric Coleman’s Care Transitions Intervention.

A press release and JAMA Report video are available for those who don’t subscribe to JAMA.

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Remembering Kathryn Dineen Wriston, 75

Kathryn Dineen Wriston, right, with her beloved husband Walter B. Wriston, circa early 1990s.

Kathryn Dineen Wriston, right, with her beloved husband Walter B. Wriston, circa early 1990s. (Photo A)

Kathy Wriston was an elegant and accomplished woman whose delightful sense of humor and natural openness drew others to her—and to the causes she passionately supported. She will be sorely missed.

Her death at age 75 on Sept. 28, 2014 due to complications from a fall at her home in Sherman, CT, came as a shock to all of us who were fortunate enough to know Kathy, and leaves us with a profound sense of loss.

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Grappling with the Tough Questions of How We Live—and Die

SeniorsRoses_400pI think it would be safe to say that most of us have trouble facing our own mortality. The idea that tomorrow isn’t promised fails to get many of us to actually live that way (I know I’m guilty).

Longer term and more connected to the John A. Hartford Foundation’s  work, we don’t like to think of ourselves as “old”—let alone dying—and we don’t plan well for futures that will likely include the need for long-term care or services later in life.

Our health care system and policies reflect this short sightedness, as well. That’s why it’s been refreshing to see some provocative writing about these issues over the past few weeks that might help us all think and do more to live our final years in old age the way we would want.

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