As the aging population continues to grow, the demand for comprehensive, safe, and high-quality health care continues to increase.
In May 2021, the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) was recognized as an “Age-Friendly Health System Participant (AFHS).” The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) recognized UMMC based on the diligent work of our outstanding age-friendly team with a focus on the Medical Intensive Care Unit as well as the Medicine and Oncology units. We have received a Level One recognition. This national recognition validates our efforts and is consistent with our vision statement: “The University of Maryland Medical Center is dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of older adults across settings through interdisciplinary team-based care as well as through its partnership with the University of Maryland professional schools and the community at large.”
As a brief background, the AFHS initiative was initially launched by the The John A. Hartford Foundation and IHI in partnership with the American Hospital Association (AHA) and the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA). The core of the initiative is to consistently promote the delivery of high-quality health care to all older adults through a set of four evidence-based elements known as the “4Ms” that include: 1) What Matters; 2) Medications; 3) Mentation; and 4) Mobility.
As the aging population continues to grow, the demand for comprehensive, safe, and high-quality health care continues to increase. By 2030, the state of Maryland is projected to have nearly 1.7 million individuals 60 years of age and older. In 2020, approximately 1.4 million people living in Maryland were age 60 or older and that number is expected to increase to 1.8 million people by the year 2040. Current demographics show that individuals over age 85 are the fastest-growing segment of our population. Because of these trends, it is imperative that we provide holistic, patient-focused, high-quality care for the older adult that promotes healthy aging and improves quality of life. This is the goal of the AFHS initiative.
The AFHS initiative does not happen in a silo. It requires a comprehensive team that works collaboratively with other members of the health and University system along with our local community and state leadership to provide innovative, person-centered care for older adults. Our interdisciplinary team at the University of Maryland consists of pharmacists, physicians, psychologists, nursing personnel, social workers, gerontologists, and psychiatrists; all of whom are dedicated to research, clinical care, education, and training of the next generation of providers.
The next step in this journey will be recognition as an exemplary in this “Age-Friendly Health System” movement that is “Committed to Care Excellence." As we work toward the second stage of recognition, we are proud of the work done to date on the 4Ms that includes but is not limited to implementation of the following activities:
- Get to Know Me Boards
- Function focused care and mobility tech programs
- U-Move Initiative focused on early hospital-based mobility
- Opioid stewardship focusing on older adults as well as in transitions of care
- A quality improvement initiative for interprofessional education and training related to older adults and the 4Ms
- Aging in Place and Community Engagement program that bridges UMMC with the local West Baltimore community
We are striving at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) to create an ecosystem that works synergistically to improve overall care of older adults through our health system, University, and state efforts. We are hopeful you can join us in these efforts. If you would like to participate or volunteer in these efforts, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org expressing your interest in the UMB Age-Friendly Health System and/or University efforts.
Anissa Nahabedian, MS, RN, AMB-BC, NPD-BC, CNL
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Student
University of Maryland School of Nursing
Nicole J. Brandt, PharmD, MBA, BCGP, BCPP, FASCP
Executive Director, The Peter Lamy Center on Drug Therapy and Aging
Professor, University of Maryland School of Pharmacy
Giora Netzer, MD, MSCE
Vice President, Patient Experience
University of Maryland Medical Center
Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology
Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care, University of Maryland School of Medicine
Barbara Resnick, PhD, RN, CRNP, FAAN, FAANP
Professor, Organizational Systems and Adult Health
Co-Director, Biology and Behavior Across the Lifespan Organized Research Center
Sonya Ziporkin Gershowitz Chair in Gerontology, University of Maryland School of Nursing
Disclaimer: Elm Voices & Opinions articles reflect the thoughts or opinions of their individual authors, and may not represent the thoughts or values of UMB as an institution.