Health AGEnda

Charting Vital Directions in Health Care for the Next Administration

vd-mc-logo-final-300x300This year’s tumultuous campaign season has been riveting. However, Election Day will soon come and go, and our attention will turn from debates and proposals to the actual policy actions of our newly elected executive and legislative leaders.

Health care, which will likely soon approach nearly 20 percent of gross domestic product, will undoubtedly be among the top policy concerns for our new administration and Congress. The critical question will be how our leaders understand this complex topic and prioritize the directions our country should take. The question is relevant for all of us—health systems leaders, clinicians, advocates, consumers, and philanthropy.

Will we, for example, acknowledge and prepare for the 10,000 baby boomers who turn 65 every day and who are living longer than ever before? (A tremendous success story for humanity, by the way.) Will we focus attention in the right way on the 5 percent of people whose care accounts for 50 percent of costs because of their complex health and social needs?

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National Strategy Needed to Support Invisible Heroes of Health Care—Family Caregivers of Older Adults

Click image to view or download a PDF of the full report.

Click image to view or download a PDF of the full report.

For far too long, the nearly 18 million family caregivers of older adults in the United States have been largely invisible to policymakers and our health care system, despite filling an absolutely essential role. The contributions these modern-day heroes make to the care of older adults is indispensable, and often comes at a significant cost to their own health, well-being, and financial security.

Families Caring for an Aging America, the sweeping new report from the blue-ribbon committee convened by the prestigious National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, offers a clear, comprehensive, and compelling rationale for creating a national strategy to elevate the position of family caregivers within our health care system.

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Remembering the Needs of Older Adults in the Opioid Debate:
A Conversation with Terry Fulmer and Cary Reid

opioids_shutterstock_343682381_400pAmerica’s opioid epidemic has reached crisis proportions, enough so that last week the United States Surgeon General took the unprecedented step of sending a letter  to 2.3 million American health care professionals asking them to take a pledge to “turn the tide” on the opioid crisis.

Relieving pain is an essential element of good care, and we are appropriately reminded that the use of these powerful medications requires precision, caution, and perspective.

But something very important is missing from this prescription: a recognition of the needs and health challenges of older adults.

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Floods, Fires, and Zika: Emergency Preparedness Must Include Older Adults

wildfire_shutterstock_235607584_400pThis summer we have witnessed catastrophic flooding in Louisiana, raging wildfires in California, and the rapid spread of the Zika virus. These frightening events should remind us about the importance of emergency preparedness. For those of us in the field of aging, these emergencies obligate us to remind everyone about their often outsized effects on older adults and the extra preparations needed for the safety of our aging population.

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Flooding in Louisiana during Hurricane Katrina.

With the floods in Louisiana, the worst natural disaster to hit the U.S. since Hurricane Sandy, the numbers are staggering. At least 40,000 homes have been damaged, more than 30,000 people had to be rescued, and more than 8,000 people were in shelters last week, including many older adults. Four nursing homes in the Baton Rouge area were evacuated. The death toll attributed to the floods sadly rose to 13 this past weekend with the most recent victim a 93-year old woman who contracted pneumonia after inhaling flood water.

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Southern Maine Agency on Aging Wins First Business Innovation Award at n4a Conference

SMAA Full Color Logo_300pIn recognition of its successful collaboration with a health care system, we are proud to announce that the Southern Maine Agency on Aging (SMAA) is the first winner of The John A. Hartford Foundation Business Innovation Award. We congratulate SMAA for its bold, transformative work to improve the quality of life for older adults and/or people with disabilities through this sustainable business partnership.

The award was presented recently at the annual conference of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a), which–along with its partners at the American Society on Aging (ASA), Independent Living Research Utilization/National Center for Aging and Disability, Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley/Healthy Living Center of Excellence, and Partners in Care Foundation—is working under a three-year John A. Hartford Foundation grant to support an initiative to successfully build and strengthen partnerships between social service agencies and health care systems and health plans. The goal is to expand access by older adults to evidence-based programs that help them live with dignity and independence in their homes and communities as long as possible.

Rani Snyder, right, presents the first John A. Hartford Foundation Business Innovation Award to Larry Gross, CEO of the Southern Maine Agency on Aging.

Rani Snyder, right, presents the first John A. Hartford Foundation Business Innovation Award to Larry Gross, CEO of the Southern Maine Agency on Aging.

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Home and Community-Based Services:
A John A. Hartford Foundation Change AGEnts Issue Brief

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

This is the last 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 Home and Community-Based Care group’s proceedings and should inform future work to create widespread and systemic changes in the care of older adults.

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Institutional Long-Term Care:
A John A. Hartford Foundation Change AGEnts Issue Brief

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

This is the sixth 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 Institutional Long-Term Care group’s proceedings and should inform future work to create widespread and systemic changes in the care of older adults.The final issue brief in the series will be published on Health AGEnda in the coming weeks.

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Coming Home

Rani Snyder, MPA

Rani Snyder, MPA, Program Director, The John A. Hartford Foundation

Nothing pleases me more than having the opportunity to tell my colleagues and the world at large that I am the new Program Director for The John A. Hartford Foundation. And nothing could be truer than to say that the Foundation has not just shaped, but has actually determined the course of my professional life.

Like a parent guiding and teaching, the Foundation put me on a path and gave me the freedom to leave the nest and find my way—gaining valuable experience and maturity along the journey. Now, I have come back home.

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

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

This is the fifth 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 Acute Care group’s proceedings and should inform future work to create widespread and systemic changes in the care of older adults.The remaining issue briefs will be published on Health AGEnda in the coming weeks.

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

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

This is the fourth 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 Primary 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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