Asante Ashland earns Age-Friendly designation!
Asante Ashland Community Hospital joins an elite group of hospitals nationwide to be recognized as an Age-Friendly Health System–Committed to Care Excellence. The designation is the highest level granted by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement for hospitals using the best evidence-based practices to care for the community’s aging population.
The 49-bed hospital has worked for the past three years to earn this recognition. It was spearheaded by Steven Hersch, MD, director of Medical Affairs. Only 1,970 hospitals, practices, convenient care clinics and nursing homes in the United States have achieved this level.
“We are grateful to the large Age-Friendly Health System team, who worked with passion and enthusiasm to help support and improve the care of our older age population at AACH,” Dr. Hersch said. “This recognition validates all the work performed since the inception of this project. This project demonstrates our support and appreciation of our community, and we are delighted to be recognized.”
Age-Friendly hospitals follow the 4-Ms framework of care, which focus on the patient’s mobility, mentation, medication and, perhaps most important, what matters most to them.
Hospitals following the 4-M framework have reported improved outcomes among their geriatric patients. These include shorter surgery times, reduced lengths of hospital stays and overall decreased hospitalizations. Just as important, Age-Friendly hospitals report that these patients are more likely to be screened for fall risks and cognitive impairment, which helps inform their care.
To earn this designation, AACH instituted several new practices:
- Using Epic to identify patients who qualify for age-friendly care and creating order sets for automatic enrollment.
- Looking for medications that might be harmful in older populations.
- Screening for delirium (mentation) and focusing on sleep quality.
- Evaluating age-friendly patients for mobility.
- Coordinating age-friendly care with physicians throughout the patient’s stay.
- Including age-friendly information in the patient’s after-visit summary.
The hospital went live with the framework in April. It was a large undertaking over three years, involving teams from Project Management, Nursing, Pharmacy, hospitalist services, Nursing Professional Development, Rehab/Physical Therapy, discharge planning, social work, spiritual care services and ITS Informatics.
AACH’s age-friendly focus is part of Asante’s efforts to shorten lengths of stay, reduce falls, improve mobility and other quality indicators. 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.
Age-friendly care was also identified as a key initiative of Asante Foundation’s AsanteForward campaign in 2021 and has resonated with donors, said Jennifer Ryen, director of development for the Foundation.
“As a result, the foundation has partnered with individuals and funders in the community to raise significant funds that directly support age-friendly care at AACH.”
The 4-M framework
Known and align care with each older adult’s specific health outcome goals and care preferences, including end-of-life care, across all care settings.
If medication is necessary, use Age-Friendly medication that does not interfere with What Matters to the older adult, Mobility or Mentation across care settings.
Prevent, identify, treat and manage dementia, depression and delirium across care settings.
Ensure that older adults move safely every day to maintain function and do What Matters.
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