Birmingham, Alabama VA Health Care System
Birmingham VA garners national recognition
The Birmingham VA Health Care System announced it is part of a movement to improve health care for older adults, contributing to a goal of 20 percent of U.S. hospitals and health systems becoming age-friendly by 2020.
As part of the Age-Friendly Health Systems initiative, 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, are helping hospitals and other care settings implement a set of evidence-based interventions specifically designed to improve care for older adults.
“Aside from just being awesome to have the chance to provide enhanced care for our aging Veterans, we are the first VA medical center to reach Participant-level Recognition within the "Wave 6 Action Community," said Dr. Ella Bowman, Section Chief of Geriatric Medicine at the Birmingham VA.
The interventions can be tested and adapted by participating in what are called Age-Friendly Health Systems Action Communities. These are collaborative entities comprised of health care teams from all over the country who are committed to sharing data and learning together. All teams strive toward reliably implementing best practices across emergency departments, intensive care units, medical-surgical units, general wards, and primary and specialty care settings.
The BVAHCS now joins more than 100 health systems working to make care for older adults even more tailored to patients’ goals and preferences and consistently of high-quality.
“Birmingham VA has always been on the forefront of patient care, and that’s why we want to participate in this vital effort. We look forward to both sharing our best practices and learning what’s working for others,” said Bowman. “The Age-Friendly Health Systems initiative is an important part of our overarching vision to provide every older adult with the best care possible.”
The initiative is based on a series of practices focused on addressing four essential elements of care for older patients:
- 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 settings of care.
- Medication: If medication is necessary, use Age-Friendly medication that do not interfere with What Matters to the older adult, Mobility, or Mentation across settings of care.
- Mentation: Prevent, identify, treat, and manage dementia, depression, and delirium across settings of care.
- Mobility: Ensure that older adults move safely every day in order to maintain function and do What Matters.
The Age-Friendly Health Systems initiative was launched in 2017 by The John A. Hartford Foundation and IHI, in partnership with the American Hospital Association and Catholic Health Association of the US, with a commitment to make 20 percent of hospitals and health systems in the United States age-friendly by 2020.
For more information, visit www.ihi.org/agefriendly.