By Annette Pinder
It is National Older Americans Awareness month, and Erie County Medical Center Corporation (ECMC) is proud to be part of a movement to improve and expand age-friendly health care for older adults.
As part of the Age-Friendly Health Systems initiative, The John A. Hartford Foundation and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, in partnership with the American Hospital Association and the Catholic Health Association of the United States, are helping hospitals and other care settings implement evidence-based interventions designed to improve care for older adults. ECMC is proud to be a part of this effort and involved in an international group of more than 2,700 health systems working to tailor care to patients’ goals and preferences to provide consistent care at the highest quality possible.
Thomas J. Quatroche Jr., PhD, President and CEO of ECMC, explained that ECMC was recognized as a level 1 participant of the Age-Friendly Health Systems initiative in January 2021, and now has achieved level 2 recognition, representing the hospital’s commitment to care excellence. Dr. Quatroche attributes this achievement to the dedicated work of ECMC’s Geriatrics, Medicine D, and Palliative Care interdisciplinary team. He says, “We look forward to both sharing our best practices and learning what’s working for others around the country in providing age-friendly care. The Age-Friendly Health Systems initiative is an important part of our commitment to provide every older adult with the best care possible.”
In order to achieve level 2 recognition, ECMC had to submit counts for the number of patients that received age-friendly care. Approximately 425 patients received interventions and testing adopted by the participating Age-Friendly Health Systems Action Communities, bringing together health care teams committed to sharing data and learning together. All teams strive toward reliably implementing age-friendly best practices across emergency departments, intensive care units, medical-surgical units, general wards, and primary and specialty care settings.
The Age-Friendly Health Systems initiative is based on a series of practices focused on addressing four essential elements (known as the 4Ms) of care for older patients, as described below.
Mind. To address inpatient delirium, ECMC created a CAM nursing assessment. More than 300 Med-Surg nurses have completed delirium education, and the initiative is being expanded into the Emergency Department.
Mobility. ECMC’s rehab team created a progressive mobility initiative, through which they share personalized goals with patients and the interdisciplinary team.
Medications. For the past three years, UBMD Pharmacy has been rounding with ECMC’s Medicine D caregivers. Together, UBMD and ECMC created a polypharmacy and deprescribing template completed on patients admitted to Medicine D.
Matters Most. The Palliative Care team interviewed 76 patients about what matters most to them during their hospitalization. Common responses included being with their family, being aware of discharge plans, independence, and mobility.
The Age-Friendly Health Systems initiative was launched in 2017 by The John A. Hartford Foundation and IHI, in partnership with the American Hospital Association and Catholic Health Association of the US. For more information, visit www.ihi.org/agefriendly.