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St. Joseph Hospital Leads Adoption of Age-Friendly Health System

According to the Age-Friendly Health System, seven to eight million baby boomers will be more than 65 years old by 2030. In addition, 80 percent of them will have one chronic ailment and 75 percent will be managing two chronic ailments.

“The statistics around the health of our aging population are sobering,” shares Glory Wabe, MSN, RN, CRRN, a clinical nurse manager at St. Joseph Hospital Rehabilitation Center. “Happily, St. Joe’s looked at them as an opportunity to adopt the Age-Friendly Healthcare System, which differentiates us from other hospitals, while also aligning with our mission to provide healing and care for the whole person in service to all in our communities.” Wabe has been responsible for spearheading the program’s implementation.

The Age-Friendly Health System is an initiative created by The John A. Hartford Foundation and Institute for Healthcare Improvement in partnership with the American Hospital Association and Catholic Health Association of the United States. Its goal is for every older person to receive the best care possible, avoid harm and be fully satisfied with their care. The effort is built on the 4Ms framework:

  • What Matters – Know and align care with each older adult’s specific health outcome goals and care preferences including, but not limited to, end-of-life care and across care settings. The focus is on asking a patient “What Matters to You?” as opposed to “What’s the Matter with You?”
  • Mentation – Prevent, identify, treat and manage dementia, depression and delirium across care settings
  • Medication – If medication is necessary, use Age-Friendly medication that doesn’t interfere with What Matters to the older adult, Mobility or Mentation across care settings
  • Mobility – Ensure that older adults move safely every day in order to maintain function and do What Matters

Wabe adds, “At a fundamental level, following the 4M framework ensures all our caregivers remain focused on what matters to each patient, not what is the matter.”

This progressive approach to care greatly improves the patient experience. Equally as important, it improves outcomes, reduces emergency department visits, minimizes length of stay and limits re-admission. Today, both departments that piloted the program – the acute inpatient rehabilitation unit and ambulatory practice, and St. Joseph Primary and Specialty Care – boast that 100 percent of their over 65-year-old patients have been evaluated with the 4M framework.

“We’re very proud of the fact that St. Joe’s was the first hospital in New Hampshire to achieve Age-Friendly Level II status by meeting rigorous criteria and ‘Committing to Care Excellence for Older Adults,’” Wabe says. “We look forward to expanding this care model throughout every department.”

St. Joseph Hospital in Nashua is a Covenant Health member.

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