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.
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.
My 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.
The John A. Hartford Foundation was one of just four new awardees chosen in 2012 to serve as an intermediary between SIF and subgrantees implementing innovative care models. As a result, a $3 million federal grant has been matched by $3 million from the John A. Hartford Foundation, with additional matching grants from the subgrantees, to spread the IMPACT/Collaborative Care model of depression treatment in Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho.
As 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.
While the turkey (and leftovers) have long been consumed, dishes washed, and guests departed, we continue to give thanks at the John A. Hartford Foundation for the work of our grantees to improve the care of older adults.
Today, we thank the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) for their 3.5 years of partnership with the National Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence (NHCGNE). And with great excitement, we announce that, effective January 2016, the National Hartford Center will relocate to the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing in order to build on the success achieved to date at GSA and to enhance the momentum of our growing membership.
Since 2000, the focus of the work of the National Hartford Center has been to prepare new academic gerontological nursing leaders and enhance the gerontological nursing expertise of current faculty. Much has been accomplished during the National Hartford Center’s time at GSA: the center has grown its annual Academic Leadership Conference and married the work of the National Hartford Center with that of our more than 300-plus nursing alumni member organization (formerly known as the Hartford Gerontological Nursing Leaders).
The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) has been one of the John A. Hartford Foundation’s key grantee partners for more than 20 years. The organization is now the home of the John A. Hartford Foundation Change AGEnts Initiative, which is helping interprofessional alumni of our programs work together in exciting new ways to make practice and policy changes that improve the care of older adults.
As a Fellow of the society who had the privilege of serving as president of the organization’s board, I know first-hand how important GSA is to the entire field of aging. The GSA annual scientific meeting has always been a highlight for me, and that’s especially true this year, as it’s my first time attending as President of the John A. Hartford Foundation. As always, I am thrilled to learn about the latest aging science across the spectrum of academic disciplines. And at this year’s conference in Orlando, I also get to engage with grantees to learn more about their work, and with leaders in the field to discuss the Foundation’s important efforts, which have often supported many of these individuals.
As it does every year, the GSA awards program features many of these Foundation-supported leaders among those being honored. We congratulate the following awardees and look forward to continuing to work with them and others to advance better care for our aging population: