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Mercy Hospital drives forward nationwide movement to improve health care for older adults

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Mercy Hospital joined the Age-Friendly Health Systems movement last year and recently earned its highest level of recognition as an “Age-Friendly Health System – Committed to Care Excellence.” The hospital is pleased to announce that its commitment to this national movement is not only improving care for older adults in our Western New York community but has contributed to the national movement surpassing its 2020 milestone.

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement has announced that the Age-Friendly Health Systems movement has beaten its participation goal by nearly 50 percent with the help of 1,956 sites of care like Mercy Hospital who joined the movement by the end of 2020. The Age-Friendly Health Systems movement underscores Mercy’s active commitment to improving care for older adults.

“Mercy Hospital has always been on the forefront of patient care, and that’s why we want to participate in this vital effort,” said Shari McDonald, RN, MSN, vice president of Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer at Mercy Hospital. “We are deeply committed to the Age-Friendly Health Systems movement because of the benefits that it can deliver to older adults, their families, and our providers.” 

Health care organizations who join the Age-Friendly Health Systems movement adopt and demonstrate progress toward implementation of the 4Ms framework – four evidence-based practices that lay the groundwork for optimizing care and outcomes for older adults, improving provider experience, supporting caregivers, and pursuing value-based methods of care. The 4M’s include: What Matters to older adults, their Medication, their Mentation, and their Mobility.

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

IHI reports that participation in the Age-Friendly Health Systems movement surged by 85 percent during the Covid-19 pandemic, when 1,671 care sites joined between March and December 2020, highlighting the impact of the older adult population’s size and distinct medical needs on U.S. health care delivery. Adults 65 and older are a rapidly growing segment of the U.S. population and health care consumers.

The Age-Friendly Health Systems movement is an initiative of The John A. Hartford Foundation and IHI in partnership with the American Hospital Association and the Catholic Health Association of the United States. Together, they applaud and celebrate the visionary health care organizations who signed on to improve their care of older adults and have led the way in recognizing and addressing a critical need that will strengthen health care delivery today and in the future.

For more information or to join, visit ihi.org/AgeFriendly.

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