OU Health Clinics Gain Age-Friendly Recognition

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OU Health Clinics Gain Age-Friendly Recognition

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement has named OU Health Senior Health Clinic and OU Health General Internal Medicine Clinic Age-Friendly Health SystemsCommitted to Care Excellence.

The designation highlights leaders in the Age-Friendly Health System movement seeking to broaden understanding of the unique and often highly complex health care needs of older adults, and follow evidence-based practices to enhance quality of care for this population. Key components are identified as the “4 Ms”:

  • What Matters – Know and align care with individual goals for health and care preferences.
  • Medication - Select medications that do not interfere with function, mobility or mentation.
  • Mentation – Identify and treat concerns related to cognitive and mental health.
  • Mobility – Ensure that older adults are able to move safely to maintain function and independence.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population aged 65 and older is expected to nearly double from 43.1 million in 2012 to a projected 83.7 million in 2050. The Age-Friendly Health Systems initiative was strategically designed to meet the challenges presented by this soaring patient population and help health care systems better meet the needs of patients as they age.

Lee Jennings, M.D., OU Health geriatrician, said age-friendly approaches to care mean that everyone, from front desk personnel to environmental services employees, understands how the patient’s age is a key indicator in health care delivery.

“Age-friendly health care recognizes that each patient brings different life experiences and health concerns that shape the care they need and what is important to them. All that complexity factors into the ‘what matters’ component of the 4 Ms. We want to make sure the care we provide is helping patients stay as independent as possible for as long as possible. We don’t want their health care or medications to interfere with their daily lives, but rather to help them continue activities that bring them joy.”

She explained that health care for any population is not just a matter of treating disease, but treating the patient who may have diseases.

“Caring for older adults calls for greater sensitivity to recognize how needs and interests differ.”

Jennings has collaborated with other OU Health physicians in internal medicine and family and preventive medicine whose primary care practices are also participating in the Age-Friendly movement.

“It’s very rewarding to work with my OU Health colleagues who are invested in age-friendly care and to share resources that promote high-quality care for older adults,” Jennings said.