Health AGEnda

Congratulations to AGS and its Award Winners!

AGS-logo-300pEach year, staff of The John A. Hartford Foundation look forward to May and the annual scientific meeting of long-time grantee and partner, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS). This year’s meeting in Long Beach, CA will once again offer us the chance to showcase the work of grantees, learn about the latest advances in aging and health research, meet with colleagues in the field, and celebrate those who have made important contributions to improving care for older adults.

We offer congratulations for another outstanding meeting to AGS President Steven R. Counsell, MD, director of The John A. Hartford Foundation Center of Excellence in Geriatric Medicine at Indiana University; 2016 AGS Annual Scientific Meeting Chair, Heather Whitson, MD, MHS, of Duke University who is a Beeson Scholar; and AGS CEO Nancy Lundebjerg, who has been instrumental in long-running Foundation projects such as the Geriatrics-for-Specialists Initiative as well as new grants including the Geriatric Emergency Department Collaborative and the Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program National Coordinating Center.

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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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Five New Grants Totaling $6.7 Million Will Improve
Care of Older Adults

nurse_older_woman_shutterstock_310053887_400pAs 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.

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Investing $10.3 Million in Projects to Transform Care for Older Adults

Transforming_Health_Care_SS__400pLast week’s meeting of the John A. Hartford Foundation’s Board of Trustees was an important and exciting time for us all.

It was the first board meeting under the direction of our new President, Terry Fulmer, PhD, RN, FAAN, and it was the last board meeting for our long-time board chair, Norman H. Volk, who is succeeded by Margaret Wolff. Demonstrating the John A. Hartford Foundation’s commitment to our current strategies to create widespread and systemic practice change in health care, the Trustees approved $10.3 million in six new grants to improve the health of older adults, our largest authorization in many years.

The new grants add muscle to four of our five funding areas comprising the Foundation’s current strategic plan. And our fifth strategy, Interprofessional Leadership in Action, is certainly validated by these projects, most of which are the culmination of several years—sometimes decades—of work by leaders in the field of aging and health who we have helped develop and support.

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Hartford Grantees, Friends Shine at AGS Annual Meeting

National_Harbor_400pMost of our John A. Hartford Foundation staff have come to the banks of the Potomac River in National Harbor, MD, this week for the annual scientific meeting of long-time grantee and partner, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS). It’s always a great opportunity to catch up with valued friends and colleagues, learn about the latest advances in aging and health research, and celebrate those who have made important contributions to the field.

This year is no exception. In fact, it is gratifying to see how many of those being honored by AGS this week have been part of the Hartford Foundation community, through grants, scholarships, fellowships, and partnerships.

Steven R. Counsell, MD

Steven R. Counsell, MD

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When the Health Care System Gives You Lemons, Form a Change AGEnts Action Community

A neighborhood lemonade stand set up by Rachael Watman’s son and his friends reminds us of some valuable lessons about success.

A neighborhood lemonade stand set up by Rachael Watman’s son and his friends reminds us of some valuable lessons about success.

My son and an enterprising group of neighborhood kids recently hosted a lemonade stand. They have done this in the past with modest success. This time, however, they outdid themselves by working as a team.

While my son and a few of the kids ran the stand, others rode their bikes up and down Main Street informing potential customers about the superior product to be had right around the corner. They also posted pictures on Facebook and scored their first delivery order to a local business owner.

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Geriatric Emergency Medicine: The Time to Act is Now

Drs. Kevin Biese and Jan Busby-Whitehead

One of this blog’s authors, Dr. Kevin Biese, right, and Dr. Jan Busby-Whitehead lead a collaborative project at UNC-Chapel Hill to develop a unique model of a geriatric emergency department (ED) focused on improving care transitions.

Editor’s Note: This is the first of two parts.

“Geriatric Emergency Medicine”—As health professionals in Emergency Medicine (EM) who have chosen to focus on the geriatric population, we wish we could claim the topic brings a sense of excitement and opportunity to EM physicians worldwide.

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MSTAR Program Shines at Reception for Supporters

Hartford Trustees Kathryn D. Wriston, left, and Lile R. Gibbons, at a recent reception honoring them as personal supporters of the MSTAR program.

Hartford Trustees Kathryn D. Wriston, left, and Lile R. Gibbons, at a recent reception honoring them as personal supporters of the MSTAR program.

Over the past 20 years, the Medical Student Training in Aging Research (MSTAR) program—a summer internship that draws physicians-in-training into the field of geriatrics and aging research—has supported more than 2,000 medical students.

We celebrated the program’s 20th anniversary and its remarkable record last week with a reception honoring John A. Hartford Foundation Trustees and other individuals who have personally donated to the sustainability of this initiative, administered by the American Federation for Aging Research (AFAR).

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Tools You Can Use: Webinar Series Covers Geriatrics-Competent Care for Medicare-Medicaid Population

Resources_Integrated_Care_400pMany of the John A. Hartford Foundation’s grant projects are working hard to improve the quality of health care for the older adults who are dually enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid.

As a group, these low-income, older adults have more complex health conditions and a greater need for coordinated, geriatrics-expert care that meets their own individualized health goals.

To improve quality and reduce costs in this population, states are working with the federal government and local managed care health plans to integrate the financing and care delivered through Medicare and Medicaid. Changes are happening fast as states experiment with delivering care to this population of “duals” through these health plans, many of which have never had experience caring for an older adult population with complex conditions.

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Tools You Can Use: Residency Training Toolkits and Best Practices Guidelines for Surgeons and Related Specialists

GeriToolkit_468622323Let’s say you are 80 years old and about to undergo surgery. Perhaps it was an unexpected fall that placed you in the emergency department and you’ll need an orthopedic surgeon to repair your hip. You’ll undergo anesthesia during the procedure and afterwards will likely require rehab.

All of the physicians who might care for you—from the ER doc to the anesthesiologist to the physical medicine/rehab physician—have spent years and years of training to specialize in their discipline.

But do they know about the drugs that should be avoided in older patients? Do they appropriately assess for frailty or cognitive impairment? Do they understand the risk factors for post-operative delirium (an acute state of confusion) and how to mitigate them?

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