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Mercy Hospital joins nationwide movement to improve health care for older adults

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Mercy Hospital announced that it has become the first acute care hospital in the Buffalo region to join a nationwide movement, called the Age-Friendly Health Systems (AFHS) initiative, to improve health care for older adults.

As part of the AFHS 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 a set of evidence-based interventions specifically designed to improve care for older adults. Mercy Hospital is now collaborating with more than 100 health systems across the country who are sharing data and best practices to achieve age-friendly, tailored care for their older patient population. 

“Mercy Hospital has always been on the forefront of patient care, and that’s why we want to participate in this vital effort. We look forward to both sharing our best practices and learning what’s working for others,” said Shari McDonald, RN, MSN, vice president of Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer at Mercy Hospital. “We are also proud to be a trailblazer in our region as we constantly strive to provide every older adult with the best care possible.”  

The initiative is based on a series of practices focused on addressing four essential elements of care for older patients.

What Matters: Know and align care with each older adult’s specific health outcome goals and care preferences in​clu​ding, but not limited to, end-of-life care, and 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 in order to maintain function and do What Matters. Medication: If medication is necessary, use Age-Friendly medications that do not interfere with What Matters to the older adult, Mobility, or Mentation across settings of care.

“This movement has the potential to create a new standard of care for older adults,” said Judy Humes, RN, BSN, nurse manager of Mercy Hospital 5 East Patient Care Unit, who led and piloted the Age-Friendly Health Systems initiative at the hospital. “We have seen positive results from this program on our unit and are looking forward to expanding this age-friendly care model throughout Mercy Hospital and Catholic Health.”     

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.

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