Age Friendly - What Matters? Don't Let Health Care Get In The Way

November-December 2018


Ask Yourself What's Most Important and Share That with Your Health Care Providers

"What Matters" is one of four essential elements in the model of age-friendly care. Along with medications, mobility and mentation (addressing delirium, depression and dementia), "what matters" is part of the 4Ms, a formula for bridging the gap between what research tells us about care to older persons and current practice.

Age-Friendly Health Systems is an initiative of 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 were prototypes for the model, including Ascension, Providence St. Joseph Health and Trinity Health. The initiative has now expanded to more than 100 acute and primary care settings.

The following piece, written by Terry Fulmer, president of The John A. Hartford Foundation and the creative mind behind the age-friendly health system movement, focuses on what matters at the end of life, a critical time in the care of older patients. The initiative defines "what matters" as knowing and acting on each older adult's specific health outcomes goal and care preference across settings. It extends beyond daily care and treatment to center on these questions: What are the goals for physical or occupational therapy that matter to the patient? What are the patient's hopes and goals for discharge? What would make today a good day?

Last week I was in room of more than 100 health care providers: nurses, physicians, social workers. We were asked: Have you ever been asked what matters to you when you received health care? Only a few hands went up. The Age-Friendly Health System, led by Terry Fulmer and other pioneers, aims to change that.



Age Friendly-What Matters Don't Let Health Care Get In The Way

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