JAHF President Dr. Terry Fulmer and Sr. Program Officer Amy Berman write about the Foundation's vision for Age-Friendly Health Systems on the Health Affairs Blog.

They discuss how as the nation ages, our current health systems will need to change. The John A. Hartford Foundation is working with the Institute of Healthcare Improvement (IHI), dozens of leading experts in health care redesign, and health system leaders and stake holders including the American Hospital Association and the Joint Commission to synthesize the critical elements of geriatric models of care in order to test a new Age-Friendly approach in a number of health systems.

The initiative is an on-going process to develop better coordination and integration of care across the continuum of care. 

"We at The John A. Hartford Foundation are looking to reimagine the twenty-first century health system so as to provide care that is age-friendly, respects the goals and preferences of the older adult, and meaningfully and substantially includes the family caregiver in the plan of care. We see progress in the numerous transitional care models that address continuity and inclusion of the family and reduce hospital admissions. But much is yet to be done in response to the growing population of older adults, the complexity of managing multiple chronic diseases, and the importance of end-of-life conversations.

As health systems redefine care for older adults, they will bring to bear the full resources of all involved. Health professionals will need to adopt a new way of thinking that replaces paternalism and foisting of expensive, unwanted care on patients. This means seamless care transitions; real-time information sharing; and ongoing, meaningful engagement with patients, families, and community-based services essential to meeting these challenges."

To learn more about Age-Friendly Health Systems, head over to the Health Affairs Blog.