COVID-19 Pandemic Highlights Urgent Need for Age-Friendly Care

Age-Friendly Action Community

Age-Friendly Health Systems Action CommunityAs 2020 concludes, one key lesson remains at the forefront — the critical impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the older adult population. Eight out of 10 COVID-19 deaths reported in the United States have been in adults 65 and older. Age-Friendly Health Systems can prepare healthcare organizations to care for the older adult population during and after the pandemic while reducing costs and improving outcomes.

Becoming an Age-Friendly Health System entails reliably providing a set of specific, evidence-based best-practice interventions to all older adults in a health organization. The MHA Keystone Center is hosting a seven-month Age-Friendly Health Systems Action Community beginning in March.

The Action Community will build on existing practices of participating organizations and combine them to reliably implement the evidence-based framework of high-quality care with all older adults in the system.

The evidence-based framework, known as the “4Ms,” identifies the core issues that should drive all decision-making in the care of older adults. They organize care and focus on the older adult’s wellness and strengths rather than solely on illness. Together, the 4Ms — What Matters, Medication, Mentation and Mobility — allow health systems to focus on the needs of older adults and establish a culture of collaboration across the community that benefits these individuals for years to come.

The MHA Keystone Center Age-Friendly Health Systems Action Community will adapt to meet the needs of the evolving pandemic and provide resources and support to participating healthcare organizations.

An informational webinar will be held Jan. 21 to discuss the program requirements and overall framework. An additional webinar, Age-Friendly Health Systems: A Model for Delivering Reliable Geriatric Care, will be held Feb. 9. The webinars are offered to MHA members free of charge, but registration is required.

Hospital-based, ambulatory care and extended care teams that are interested in participating in this Action Community may enroll at no cost. Members with questions may contact the MHA Keystone Center.