FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 14, 2021
Saratoga Hospital Earns “Age-Friendly Health System” Designation
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y., Sept. 14, 2021—Saratoga Hospital has been designated an “Age-Friendly Health System – Committed to Care Excellence” for focusing on what matters most to geriatric patients and their families.
An initiative of 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, Age-Friendly Health Systems is part of a national movement to improve the health and healthcare of older adults. In New York, the initiative is supported by the Healthcare Association of New York State, which has launched the New York State Age-Friendly Health Systems Action Community.
Saratoga Hospital earned the age-friendly designation by demonstrating that its approach to age-appropriate care is built on evidence-based best practices, reduces harm, and emphasizes what matters most to patients and their families.
“Hospital stays can be particularly stressful for older patients and their families,” said Dr. Mallory Otto, a geriatrician with Saratoga Hospital Medical Group – Geriatric Care. “Our age-friendly designation affirms that patients can count on us to meet the needs of older individuals, taking into account their priorities and personal definitions of quality of life.
“That’s an important message—and a source of comfort—in a hospital like ours, where more than 55% of patients are 65 and older, and nearly one-third are ages 75 and older,” she added.
Otto teamed up with Cindi Lisuzzo, director of care management, to lead the multidisciplinary age-friendly effort at Saratoga Hospital. Michelle Little, director of nursing on one of Saratoga Hospital’s medical-surgical floors, also played a key role in implementing the age-friendly framework, which is built around four essential elements known as the 4Ms:
- 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 does not interfere with what matters to the older adult, mobility or mentation.
- Mentation: Prevent, identify, treat and manage dementia, depression and delirium.
- Mobility: Ensure that older adults move safely every day in order to maintain function and do what matters.
To deliver on the 4Ms, Saratoga Hospital engaged providers and departments from throughout the organization—nurses, physicians and advanced practice providers; physical, occupational and speech therapists; recreational therapists, volunteers, and representatives from palliative care, pharmacy, care management, food and nutrition services and other service lines.
“Age-friendly care built around the 4Ms can have a profound impact on health and quality of life for patients during and after their hospital stay,” Lisuzzo said. “Our biggest challenges involve older patients who live alone and don’t have family or support systems nearby. If we know what matters most to these patients, we can make sure their wishes are reflected in the care they receive at Saratoga Hospital, their discharge plans and care transitions.”
Lisuzzo and Little view the 4Ms are an extension of Saratoga Hospital’s long-standing commitment to relationship-based care that acknowledges that each patient has different needs and goals.
“What matters is unique to each patient,” Little said, “so we also ask families what’s important to their family member. On a day when a patient is upset, we can help them feel better because we know their story and what matters to them. This makes a difference both physically and emotionally.”
Nationwide, more than 2,200 organizations are recognized as Age-Friendly Health System participants. Of those, less than 30%—including Saratoga Hospital—have attained the higher distinction of Age-Friendly Health Systems – Committed to Care Excellence.
About Saratoga Hospital: Saratoga Hospital is the Saratoga region’s leading healthcare provider and the only acute-care facility in Saratoga County. The hospital’s multispecialty practice, Saratoga Hospital Medical Group, provides care at more than 20 locations, ensuring easy access to programs and services that can have the greatest impact on individual and community health. Saratoga Hospital has maintained Magnet designation for nursing excellence since 2004. The hospital is an affiliate of the Albany Med Health System, which also includes Albany Medical Center Hospital, Columbia Memorial Health and Glens Falls Hospital. The region’s largest locally governed health system, it has 1,520 beds, more than 800 physicians and 125 outpatient locations. For more information: www.SaratogaHospital.org or www.facebook.com/SaratogaHospital.
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