Fall 2022 Newsletter
By Robin McAtee, PhD, RN, FACHE, Director, Arkansas Geriatric Education Collaborative (AGEC), a Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP) at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging (DWR IOA)
Happy fall to everyone! I know most of us are very happy to see the trees turning and the temperatures dropping. The AGEC and partners have started fall programs and classes and are very busy. This quarter I want to talk a little more in-depth about the AGEC’s clinical focus on the 4M’s framework of Age-Friendly Care.
In 2017, The John A. Hartford Foundation and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), in partnership with the American Hospital Association and the Catholic Health Association of the United States, had a vision and plan to infuse healthcare with a new concept called age-friendly care. The IHI defined age-friendly care as care that “Follows an essential set of evidence-based practices; Causes no harm; and Aligns with What Matters to the older adult and their family or other caregivers”. Therefore, if a healthcare system wants to become certified as an Age-Friendly Health System, they must provide care that meets evidence-based elements of high-quality care, known as the “4Ms,” to all older adults in their system.
The 4Ms are: What Matters, Medication, Mentation, and Mobility. The first M regarding What Matters is regarded as essential and if done properly, all of the M’s revolve around it. All care should center around what Matters most to the older adult. This is where the conversation with the patient, family, and caregiver(s) begins. The healthcare team should discuss the older adult’s health outcome goals and care preferences, including end-of-life care, across all settings. Their goals and preferences then dictate the overall plan of care. Medication, should be age-friendly and not compromise mentation, mobility or What Matters. Mentation is the next M where providers should work to prevent, identify, treat and manage dementia, delirium, depression, and other conditions that affect the mind. Finally, Mobility is considered. The team should ensure safe movement and function that supports what matters to the older adult and what promotes meaningful activities. This was a simplified and quick summary of the age-friendly framework and I would encourage you all to learn more. More information can be found at https://www.ihi.org/Engage/Initiatives/Age-Friendly-Health-Systems/Documents/IHIAgeFriendlyHealthSystems_GuidetoUsing4MsCare.pdf.
The AGEC has a wonderful rural clinical partner that is essential to our success with implementing age-friendly care, ARcare. ARcare is a federally qualified healthcare clinic (FQHC) network that works tirelessly in rural communities to ensure patients are able to benefit from accessible, affordable, quality, routine medical care. Services from ARcare include primary care, behavioral health, pharmacies, community outreach programs, and more. When approached in late 2018 about being part of the AGEC, ARcare staff were enthusiastic and embraced the concepts inherent in the 4M’s framework of Age-Friendly Care. Since beginning the partnership in 2019, Dr. Leah Tobey, our AGEC Clinical Coordinator, has taught this framework in six ARcare rural clinics. She continues to update new staff, work on quality improvement projects, and helps with rural community projects. To date, the ARcare network has five clinics that are certified level I or II as Age-Friendly by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. We are proud of ARcare and their work with making their care age-friendly and we would encourage all who provide care to older adults to consider these 4Ms.
If you would like more information or training regarding the 4M’s of Age-Friendly care, please contact the AGEC.