On Oct. 8, the Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA) Keystone Center announced the launch of an effort funded by the Michigan Health Endowment Fund to make health systems across Michigan more age-friendly and better serve older Michigan residents, while lowering costs of care. Recruitment of participants began in August and, to date, 14 organizations have committed to participating.
The MHA Keystone Center is currently recruiting hospital-based teams and ambulatory care (such as primary and specialty care) teams with the kickoff of the initiative occurring this month.
The MHA Keystone Center Age-Friendly Health Systems Action Community will replicate work originally launched in 2017 by 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. Five health systems nationwide — including Michigan-based Trinity Health — participated in the prototype, with an overall aim to support 20 percent of U.S. hospitals becoming age-friendly by June 30, 2020. Results nationally have confirmed that this model can improve care experiences and outcomes, as well as lower care costs.
“It’s no secret that Michigan has an aging population and that older residents are living longer. But what many forget is that these residents, when they become patients in various care settings, often need specialized care to meet their needs,” said MHA CEO Brian Peters. “We’re appreciative of the support of the Michigan Health Endowment Fund to do this work, which we believe will allow Michigan health systems to make great strides in developing age-friendly, high-quality services for older Michiganders statewide.”
The MHA Keystone Center Age-Friendly Health Systems Action Community will focus on the evidence-based “4Ms” framework for creating age-friendly care environments. This includes focusing on what matters to the patient/family, medication (using age-friendly medications that don’t interfere with mobility, mentation or what matters), mentation (preventing, identifying and treating things like dementia, depression and delirium appropriately) and mobility (ensuring older adults move safely every day to maintain and improve function).
“It was an easy decision for us to be a supportive partner in the expansion of the Age-Friendly Health Systems initiative here in Michigan,” said Paul Hillegonds, CEO of the Michigan Health Endowment Fund. “This model of delivering care has been proven to provide safer and better care to older adults across the country and we are excited about its potential to improve the health and well-being of older adults across our great state.”
According to 2016 U.S. Census Bureau data, more than 23% of Michigan residents are now 60 or older — and life expectancy has increased by seven years since the 1960s. At the same time, roughly 80% of older adults have at least one chronic disease, and 77% have at least two . As reported by Bridge Magazine, Michigan has one of the highest concentrations of older residents in the country. These changes in age and health, along with the challenges of social and home support dynamics for older residents, make developing age-friendly care settings and processes vital for the well-being of Michigan’s aging patients.
 Abrams M, Milstein A. NAM Workshop Series on High-Need Patients. National Academy of Medicine; October 2016. https://nam.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Taxonomy-and-care-model-presentation-FINAL.pdf