The University of Rochester Aging Institute has announced that both Strong Memorial and Highland hospitals have been certified as Age-Friendly Health System (AFHS) participants, part of a nationwide movement to improve health care for older adults.
"This is one of the first steps on our transformative journey to ensure age-friendly care to older adults across all UR Medicine care settings," said Annette Medina-Walpole, M.D., the Paul H. Fine Professor of Medicine, chief of the Division of Geriatrics and Aging, and director of the University of Rochester Aging Institute. "The goal of providing high-quality, age-friendly care is successfully met across our system every day as part of our patient-centered, holistic approach to medicine, but it is accomplished in many different ways."
The Geriatric Fracture Centers at Strong Memorial and Highland are examples of age-friendly locations in our health system. "Sharing best practices among our own providers and other AFHS institutions will result in the best, most consistent care possible," said Jenny Shen, M.D., assistant professor of Medicine, who leads the AFHS initiative for the Geriatric Fracture Center at Strong.
The Age-Friendly Health System 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. New York State has set a goal to have 50 percent of its health systems designated by AFHS within the next five years.
AFHS follows the "4Ms" paradigm, ensuring that medical encounters addresses mobility; mentation; medications; and what matters to each older person, aligning care with each older adult's specific health outcome goals and care preferences, including end-of-life care. As one of the largest health systems in Upstate New York, URMC will play a major role in advancing the AFHS initiative and serve as a model for health systems nationwide.
URMC is taking a multi-pronged approach to its AFHS transformation, Medina-Walpole said, convening an expert team of interdisciplinary health professionals across hospitals and care settings to put the 4Ms into practice by developing care pathways and tracking of older adults who receive 4Ms care. Current sites include Strong and Highland, Eastman Institute for Oral Health, the URMC Center for Perioperative Medicine and the UR Medicine Geriatrics Group outpatient practice.
"By collecting data and defining for our health system the best ways to provide care for the older adult population, we can champion the 4Ms as a package that will create consistency across all clinical locations," said Robert J. Panzer, M.D., URMC chief quality officer. "It's an excellent opportunity to improve what is already being done on our journey towards achieving high reliability."
As part of this work, the University of Rochester was awarded funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration through the Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program—a five-year, $3.75 million award and the Geriatric Academic Career Award to provide support to disseminate the Age-Friendly Health System initiative through interprofessional education.
Serving as AFHS champions within their subspecialties and clinical practice sites are current Geriatric Academic Career Award awardee Jennifer Muniak, M.D., Division of Geriatrics and Aging; and Geriatric Faculty Scholars, Szilvia Arany, DMD, Ph.D., Department of Dentistry; Ciandra D'souza, M.D., MPH, Division of Geriatrics & Aging; Heather Lander, M.D., Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine; and Jenny Shen, M.D., Division of Hospital Medicine.