Health AGEnda, the blog of the John A. Hartford Foundation, is a forum for sharing the latest commentary, evidence, and insights on health and aging topics. Here is a roundup of recent policy-relevant posts that may inform your thinking, connect you to useful resources, or provoke further questions to explore with us.
The John A. Hartford Foundation is pleased to present the findings of “On Your Team,” its third public poll, examining older adults’ experiences and opinions of team care and the patient-centered medical home.
In “On Your Team,” older adults surveyed expressed high interest and positive experiences with the medical home. A large majority (83%) of those who say they already receive well-coordinated care from a team of providers say team care has improved their health. Even among older adults not currently receiving this type of care, 61 percent say they believe team care would improve their health, and 73 percent would want this type of care, the survey found.
For full information on the poll, please explore the following materials:
The Greatest Good: A History of The John A. Hartford Foundation was written by Judith S. Jacobson in 1984.
The book is broken out into chapters for ease of reading.
The Alzheimer’s’ Association has tips for people with Alzheimer’s disease, a financial planning guide, a guide to Medicare and Medicaid and a caregiver locator.
Leading Age, formerly The American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, has consumer research on planning for, financing and choosing services, a caregiver locator and fact sheets.
In our effort to make a strong, networked community for those engaged with the Foundation and its mission, one possible tool is a discussion forum where people can ask questions and get answers – from all those engaged.
I don’t know if the comment feature of Word Press, the software underlying the blog and learning center is a good fit for this need, but I thought we should find out.
Beginning the Conversation:
Integrating Geriatrics Education and Practice
In 2009-10, the John A. Hartford Foundation conducted a communications audit to explore opportunities to amplify and augment the work of our grantees and impact of the Foundation. One of the audit’s key findings was that respondents encouraged the Foundation to more deliberately link its investments in education and training programs with those made to support the new models of practice and service delivery. This echoes recommendations suggested in the 2008 Institute of Medicine report, “Retooling for an Aging America” and recognizes the critical relationship between the success of clinical and service models designed to improve the care of older patients and what happens in education and training efforts in academic and practice settings. We also know that information must flow in both directions between clinical care and the education sector in order to create the workforce we need for the 21st Century.
GSA Event: An Initial Conversation
Since the audit, the Foundation has launched a Strategic Planning process that is reviewing its grant making approaches generally. As part of this work, and in an effort to learn more about how we might better connect our education and service grants more effectively, the Foundation hosted a small, group discussion at the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) Annual Meeting at the Boston Sheraton Hotel on Saturday, November 19. In addition to Foundation program staff, 19 people attended including several Foundation grantees and a number of service delivery leaders in the Boston area (see Appendix A). A lively and informative conversation ensued (See Appendix B for the meeting’s agenda).
Christopher Langston, Program Director of the Hartford Foundation, opened the discussion by framing the issue and the gathering’s objective, which was to “start a conversation about the connections between the care needed for older adults and the education and training required to prepare a workforce to deliver that care.” Ultimately, he said, the Foundation was hoping for ideas that “will make the most difference now in improving the health of older adults.”
The John A. Hartford Foundation (JAHF) and the National Association of Geriatric Education Centers (NAGEC) recently convened an intensive one-day strategic planning session with twenty key representatives from around the nation. Participants included leaders in geriatrics and geriatrics education, palliative medicine, nursing, public health, planning, and public policy, as well as the Hartford Foundation’s executive staff. Meeting at Foundation headquarters, the group shared experiences in their fields and generated ideas to enhance and improve the work of the Geriatric Education Centers (GEC). The result was a decision to move in new directions.
In his opening remarks, the Foundation’s Program Director, Christopher Langston, PhD, set the tone: “We have to look at the big picture,” he said. Let’s face it—available monies are greatly diminished when compared to ten years ago. We have to develop non-financial powers. What do I mean by this? I mean convening people; developing new synergies, ideas, and plans; and identifying how the various sectors of society can work together. We must work to determine where our interests and missions intersect and then be able to move forward to create partnerships in new places.”
The meeting revolved around three broad areas: developing partnerships, conducting outcome evaluations, and retooling for an aging America. The morning session included participant speakers, who gave concise topic summaries. Langston provided an overview of the Institute of Medicine’s report, Retooling for an Aging America. Roseanne Leipzig, MD, PhD, of the Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, presented a brief survey of the geriatric education initiative. Janet Frank, DrPH, of the David Geffin School of Medicine at UCLA, discussed developing partnerships to extend GEC. Julia Hannum-Rose, PhD, Professor of Medicine and Palliative Care, Case at MHMC, spoke about current NTACC resources in support of GECs.
Participants then divided into three breakout discussion groups to confer about their assigned issues and develop recommendations for strategic next steps. At the end of the day, everyone reconvened, and group leaders reported the results of their deliberations. These included the following recommendations to HRSA:
This year, 2010, marks the 10th anniversary of the Building Academic Geriatric Nursing Capacity (BAGNC) initiative, and we’d like to offer our congratulations to the program’s leaders and its awardees. It has been a decade of remarkable achievement.
The Birth of an Initiative
The BAGNC Initiative began back in January 2000, when the Hartford Foundation held an invitational meeting to give experts and thought leaders an opportunity to discuss the major health care issues of older adults and to identify strategies to improve geriatric nursing care.
By the end of the meeting, two questions had emerged: (1) What were the critical issues in professional nursing that might affect the care of older adults? And (2) what challenges to improving care for older adults were most relevant and amenable to solutions by nursing schools and the Hartford Foundation? To find answers, the Foundation commissioned several papers.
This work led Hartford to formulate two top priorities that would frame a new initiative in nursing: creating centers of geriatric nursing excellence and increasing the number of gerontological nurse researchers. The Foundation’s commitment to these goals marked the birth of the BAGNC initiative.
The John A. Hartford Foundation supports a number of programs designed to increase the number of physicians who choose academic geriatrics as their career, and others that promote aging-related medical research. One of the Foundation’s most successful initiatives, however, does both: the Medical Student Training in Aging Research (MSTAR) program. Nine percent of the earliest program participants have gone on to become medical school faculty with expertise in aging, compared to the one percent of students nationwide who go into geriatrics fellowships.
MSTAR, administrated by the American Federations for Aging Research (AFAR), gives medical students a taste of aging-related research under the mentorship of top experts in the field at some of the nation’s most prestigious medical schools. At the end of each year’s session, MSTAR scholars crown their training achievements by presenting posters of their research projects and participating in a networking event with prominent scholars of aging at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Geriatrics Society (AGS). The poster session and networking event are sponsored in part by the AGS Foundation for Health in Aging.
Seventy-two of the 2010 MSTAR cohort presented at this year’s AGS conference, held in Orlando, Florida, and by all accounts, their posters proved a resounding success. They covered a broad range of topics, from Alzheimer’s-related changes in the brain to the relationship between depression and disability. You can read more about their presentations on the Foundation’s blog, Health AGEnda.
MSTAR is a continuation of the original Hartford/AFAR Medical Student Geriatric Scholars Program, established in 1994. Today, the Foundation partners with two other major sponsors, the MetLife Foundation and the National Institute on Aging (NIA), in supporting the program. Over the past 16 years, the program has provided training in basic science, clinical, and health services research to 1,354 students from more than 120 medical schools. Any student in good standing who has completed at least one year of study at an accredited medical or osteopathic school in the U.S. can participate in the program.