Leaders share vision for older adults and their caregivers across health system
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Physicians, nurses, researchers and other members of the UC Davis Health community logged on this week for a virtual road show to learn more about the vision to create world class health care for older adults.
UC Davis Health Healthy Aging Initiative leaders – UC Davis School of Medicine Dean Allison Brashear and Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing Dean Stephen Cavanagh - hosted two virtual sessions on Dec. 8. They laid out the commitment to age-friendly care and services that increase access to health care, improve quality of life and decrease the complexities of navigating the health care system for older adults and their caregivers.
“We're working on delivering that in a patient-centered and family-centered way. And we're taking a multidisciplinary approach with physicians, nurse practitioners (N.P.s) and other members of our community,” Brashear said. “We're going to be building an educational program so that we have a pathway for future providers to learn about how to care for older adults,” she said.
“This is a cultural shift. UC Davis Health really is looking to work with its older population, its communities in a substantially different way, right across the health system,” Cavanagh added. “We are looking not simply at an older person, but the environment they come from. We also want to leverage the great strengths of our academic medical center, the fantastic care and research we can offer and the teaching opportunities,” he said.
More than 40 experts from multiple disciplines are leading this culture shift. They are currently hiring interprofessional geriatric specialists, including physicians, advanced practice providers (N.P.s and physician assistants), nurses, psychiatrists, pharmacists and more. Also underway is a new ambulatory clinic in midtown Sacramento for comprehensive, older-adult care, including primary care, cognitive care, social worker case management and Family Caregiving Institute services.
“The clinical aspect of this initiative looks at our existing services to see how we can make them more age-friendly. We've also been identifying new services and looking at processes across the continuum of care so that we can make sure that we are connecting older adults and not losing them along the way,” said Terri Harvath, who also participated in the virtual discussion.
Harvath serves as chair of the clinical delivery committee, is senior director for strategic initiatives at the School of Nursing and is director of the Family Caregiving Institute. The institute and the nationally recognized Alzheimer’s Disease Center play critical roles in the initiative.
“How we will make it great is by bringing together our community and continuing to get those ideas about what is really needed,” Brashear said. “I am so excited about this initiative and bringing together all of the amazing world-class care we have at UC Davis Health for the older adult.”