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VA Pittsburgh recognized for age-friendly nursing home care for older veterans

Pittsburgh, PA — VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System’s (VAPHS’s) H.J. Heinz III Community Living Center (CLC) has achieved recognition as a Level 2 Age-Friendly Health System through a national initiative to deliver safe, reliable, high-quality health care based on what matters to older veterans.

The recognition assures VAPHS’s CLC veterans they are receiving evidence-based care tailored to their individual needs, preferences and goals.

VAPHS’s CLC is one of 134 VA nursing homes in the country. Veterans may stay for a short time for physical therapy or skilled nursing services. Others may stay for the rest of their lives.

Launched in 2017, 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 and the Catholic Health Association of the United States.

The Age-Friendly Health Systems initiative focuses on four essential elements of care for older patients called 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 medications that do not interfere with what matters to the older adult, mobility, or mentation 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.

“We owe it to our older veterans to make sure they receive all of their care within an age-friendly environment,” said Jennifer Pruskowski, associate director for Education and Evaluation of VA Pittsburgh’s Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center. “Joining the age-friendly initiative provided us a framework of evidence-based care that puts what matters to the older veteran at the forefront.”

VA in 2020 set out to become the largest integrated health care system in the U.S. to be recognized as age friendly. In addition to the CLC, VAPHS’s Home-Based Primary Care (HBPC) program participates in the initiative. Annually, VAPHS provides care to some 200 older veterans in its CLC and 150 in its HBPC program.

Pruskowski said moving forward VAPHS “will continue to build the infrastructure and community to provide age-friendly care to all older veterans no matter the setting.”


ABOUT VA PITTSBURGH HEALTHCARE SYSTEM

VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System (VAPHS) is one of the largest and most progressive VA health care systems in the nation. More than 4,000 employees serve nearly 80,000 veterans every year, providing a range of services from complex transplant medicine to routine primary care. VAPHS is a leader in virtual care delivery through telehealth technology; a center of research and learning with 130 research investigators and $14.8 million in funding in fiscal year 2021; and a provider of state-of-the-art health care training to some 1,500 student trainees annually. VAPHS provides care at medical centers in Pittsburgh's Oakland neighborhood and nearby O’Hara Township, both in Pennsylvania, and at five outpatient clinics in Belmont County, Ohio, and Beaver, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland counties in Pennsylvania. An additional site of care is expected to open in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, in 2023. Veterans can call 412-360-6162 to check eligibility or enrollment. Stay up to date at pittsburgh.va.gov, Facebook and Twitter.

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