UC Davis Health named Age-Friendly Health Systems Participant

Participation in national program signals commitment to care for older adults with what matters to them


All older adults deserve safe, high-quality health care that is based on what matters most to them as individuals and delivered reliably in every setting.

Katren Tyler leads efforts in the emergency department to deliver age-friendly care to older-adult patients.
Katren Tyler leads efforts in the emergency department to deliver age-friendly care to older-adult patients.

UC Davis Health is leading the way in making sure that happens by joining the Age-Friendly Health Systems initiative and working toward designation. UC Davis Health, the only participant in the Sacramento region, now joins more than 100 health systems working to tailor care to older patients’ goals and preferences and ensure it is consistently of high-quality.

“Caring for our older-adult patients is both the right thing to do and the best thing we can do to ensure patients live healthier and on their own terms,” said David Lubarsky, vice chancellor of human health sciences and CEO of UC Davis Health. “This designation is recognition of our nation-leading Family Caregiving Institute, Alzheimer’s Disease research, and work being done across UC Davis Health to create the healthiest older-adult population in Northern California.”

Age-Friendly Health Systems is an initiative of The John A. Hartford Foundation and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), in partnership with the American Hospital Association (AHA) and the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA). The goal is to build a social movement so that all care involving older adults is age friendly. Specifically, it aims to reach older adults in 2,600 places of care by June 30, 2023.

“Our initial focus is on our geriatric emergency department unit, where we see about 40 patients a day over 65 years of age, or roughly 14,500 patients each year,” said Katren Tyler, senior emergency care unit physician-lead at UC Davis Medical Center and a leader of the health system’s age-friendly work. “We are focusing our care on older patients who are likely to be discharged from the emergency department but may still have additional clinical and social needs to safely return home.”

With these steps, UC Davis Health has achieved Phase I and is recognized as an Age-Friendly Health System Participant. Tyler and her team will continue to submit advances in the essential elements of care for older patients, known as the 4Ms, for the next three months. The goal is to receive a committed-to-care excellence designation in the emergency department, and then incorporate that approach to other areas of the health system for additional age-friendly excellence recognition.

The 4Ms identify the core issues that should drive all decision making in the care of older adults.

The initiative is based on a series of practices focused on addressing four essential elements of care for older patients, 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 mental function, 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.

Tyler’s team includes two Geriatric Emergency Nurse Initiative Expert (GENIE) registered nurses. They are able to provide clinical screens for older patients that focus on the 4Ms. They coordinate closely with clinical case managers, social workers, physical therapy and any new pharmacy technicians in the emergency department, as well as transitions-of-care navigators.

This designation is part of the larger UC Davis Health Healthy Aging Initiative to promote healthy aging through an integrated approach across the lifespan and in all care settings.

  • UC Davis Health has earned early membership in the NICHE (Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders) program of The Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing at New York University College of Nursing. Full designation is a goal for 2022.
  • A new Healthy Aging Clinic at UC Davis Health began accepting referrals and seeing patients in mid-January. The interdisciplinary clinic, currently in a soft-launch phase, provides comprehensive services that preserve the functionality and independence of older-adult patients, while at the same time supporting their family caregivers.
  • UC Davis Health's Alzheimer’s Disease Center has added a team of geriatric neurology experts and continues its extensive research efforts to support patients with dementia.

For more information regarding the UC Davis Health Healthy Aging Initiative, click here.

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