Healthcare providers in the U.S. constantly seek ways to deliver the highest quality care in the most efficient way possible. One of their biggest challenges is addressing the needs of a rapidly growing aging population (aged 65+) that’s projected to double in size within 40 years.
As more seniors choose to age in place over an institutional setting, it’s driven the need to embrace integrative healthcare solutions that include home care. Thankfully, newer age-friendly health system initiatives are now helping to ensure that older adults enjoy a higher quality of life in the comfort of their own homes.
Older Adults Have Unique Care Needs
There are currently more than 46 million aged 65 and over in the U.S., a figure likely to exceed 98 million by 2060. The average senior lives with at least one chronic disease, while many others take multiple prescription medications each day.
For one reason or another, millions of aging adults face uncertainty as they transition from an independent lifestyle to a reliance on others who can assist them with basic activities of daily living (BADLs), such as functional mobility, personal hygiene, and toileting.
A 2018 survey conducted by AARP revealed that three-in-four older adults want to continue aging in place in their homes for as long as possible. This trend has created unique healthcare challenges for providers as they focus on delivering elderly-based community healthcare services.
The Age-Friendly Health Systems Initiative
Launched in 2019, Age-Friendly Health Systems is a joint initiative of The John A. Hartford Foundation and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Project partners also include the American Hospital Association and the Catholic Health Association of the United States.
As such, Age-Friendly Health Systems is a growing movement helping hospitals, clinics, retail pharmacies, nursing homes, home care providers, and others deliver high-quality, age-appropriate care to seniors across the country.
How an Age-Friendly Health System Works
The goal of an Age-Friendly Health System is to optimize value for all participants including patients, families, caregivers, and healthcare providers.
An Age-Friendly Health System is one in which every older adult’s care:
- Is guided by an essential set of evidence-based best practices (the 4Ms)
- Causes no harm
- Aligns with What Matters to the older adult and their family caregivers
Age-Friendly Health System Requirements
To become an Age-Friendly Health System it is required to provide “4Ms”, four basic elements of high-quality care:
- What Matters – Know and align care with each adult’s specific health outcome goals and care preferences, including, but not limited to, end-of-life care and across settings of care.
- Medication – If medication is necessary, use Age-Friendly medication that does not interfere with What Matters to the older adult, Mobility, or Mentation across settings of care.
- Mentation – Prevent, identify, treat, and manage dementia, depression, and delirium across settings of care.
- Mobility – Ensure that older adults move safely every day to maintain function and do What Matters.
Age-Friendly Health System Pioneers
In 2019, five U.S. health systems tested and implemented the 4Ms Framework to qualify as an Age-Friendly Health System. Since the participation in the program, the average length of patients and readmissions has decreased.
Other health system benefits include improved patient-family engagement, satisfaction, positive return of investment, and safety.
To date, over 2,400 participating sites are now recognized as Age-Friendly Health Systems by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, including hospitals, nursing homes, and home care providers.
If you would like to join the movement to make your health system age-friendly, learn more or sign up at IHI.org/AgeFriendly.
Age-Friendly Home Care Solutions for Families in Los Angeles
Caring for an aging-in-place loved one isn’t always easy. At New Wave Home Care, we’ve been helping families in Southern California for 10+ years now. Our main aim is to keep aging loved ones safe and comfortable in their own homes. As a licensed home care provider, we support clients and their families with personalized in-home solutions. There is a range of support we provide including personal care, dementia and Alzheimer’s care, and hospice support.
When you choose New Wave Home Care in Pasadena, rest assured that your loved one is getting specialized care from a trusted caregiver. To learn more now or schedule a FREE in-home assessment for a senior in the greater Los Angeles area, please visit us at www.newwavehomecare.com.