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AACH continues its age-friendly work

The hospital is moving forward on plans to become a designated Age-Friendly facility.

The Age-Friendly Health System initiative continues to develop as Asante Ashland moves toward becoming an Age-Friendly-designated hospital. Dedicated members of the AFHS workgroup led by Dr. Steven Hersch, vice president of Medical Affairs and hospital administrator, meet biweekly to build the infrastructure to care for the community’s 65 and older patients.

With the older population rapidly growing in our state and region, AACH is seeing a consistent increase in the number of these patients in our hospital. Of the hundreds of patients cared for over the past six months, 66% were over 65.

As an Age-Friendly hospital AACH will concentrate on the four domains of the 4M framework: medications, mentation, mobility and what matters. This focus is also part of Asante’s efforts to shorten lengths of stay, reduce falls, improve mobility and other quality indicators. Further, by providing the right care to the right patient, the hospital can protect the most vulnerable members of the community from developing hospital-acquired infections and help them recover and return to their regular lives.

The planning group is made up of representatives from Project Management, Nursing, Pharmacy, hospitalist services, Nursing Professional Development, Rehab/Physical Therapy, discharge planning, social work, spiritual care services and ITS Informatics. The group plans a slow rollout. Training, communication and defined workflows will set the stage to begin enrolling patients as early as this spring.

The group is looking at every aspect of caring for these adults and identifying how each hospital service touches on the patient’s experience. Much of the care already provided falls within the age-friendly framework around mobility, fall prevention, dementia prevention and sleep hygiene. AACH is poised to enhance the care it currently provides as a high-touch hospital.

Initially, the care teams will work to comply with the established Institute for Healthcare Improvement program. AACH will track the percentage of eligible patients who experience each domain of the age-friendly care model, and through a process of continuous quality improvements will build a sustainable program. AACH’s certification will be a community model for care of the senior population.

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