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Elizabethtown Community Hospital Joins National Age-Friendly Care Movement

Elizabethtown, NY – The University of Vermont Health Network – Elizabethtown Community Hospital announced today that it has joined the Age-Friendly Health Systems (AFHS) initiative, a nationwide movement to ensure older adults receive age-friendly health care.

According to an AARP-commissioned report by the Center for an Urban Future, nearly one in six New Yorkers is 65 and over, representing 16 percent of the total population. In Essex County, 23 percent of the population is 65 and older. Older adults often have more than one chronic condition, take multiple medications, and are at greater risk of falls and complications when hospitalized.

“Our older patients deserve safe, personalized health care that treats them with respect and meets their unique goals and preferences,” said Victoria Savage, BSN, RN, RRT, nurse manager and AFHS lead for Elizabethtown Community Hospital. “I’m so proud of the way our team has embraced this movement and integrated age-friendly practices into every interaction we have with our older patients.”

As part of the Age-Friendly Health Systems initiative, 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,​ are helping hospitals and other care settings implement evidence-based interventions specifically designed to improve care for older adults.

The interventions can be tested and adapted by participating in what are called Age-Friendly Health Systems Action Communities. These are collaborative entities comprised of health care teams from all over the country who are committed to sharing data and learning together. All teams strive toward reliably implementing best practices across emergency departments, intensive care units, medical-surgical units, general wards, and primary and specialty care settings. In New York State, the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS) and New York State Department of Health have joined together to support the initiative by creating a New York State Age-Friendly Health Systems Action Community. In 2017, AARP and the World Health Organization declared New York the first age-friendly state in the nation.

The Age-Friendly Health Systems initiative is based on a series of practices focused on addressing four essential elements of care for older patients:

  • 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 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.

“Patient safety and satisfaction have always been top priorities for our hospital and health centers,” said John Remillard, president of Elizabethtown Community Hospital.  “Our new designation as an Age-Friendly Health System reflects the extra steps we’ve taken to make health care safer and better for our older patients.”

The Age-Friendly Health Systems initiative was launched in 2017 with a commitment to make 20 percent of hospitals and health systems in the United States age-friendly by 2020. Last month, the initiative announced that 1,956 hospitals, health systems and practices had joined the movement, surpassing its goal by fifty percent.

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About Elizabethtown Community Hospital

The University of Vermont Health Network - Elizabethtown Community Hospital is a designated critical access hospital and the primary health care provider serving the 39,000 residents in Essex County and northern Warren and Washington Counties in New York.

Elizabethtown Community Hospital is transforming rural health care at its main campus in Elizabethtown, NY, at a new emergency department and outpatient center in Ticonderoga, NY, and at six community-based primary health care centers located throughout the region. The hospital is one of the community’s largest employers with 350 employees.

Across the Elizabethtown and Ticonderoga campuses, the hospital maintains two 24-hour emergency rooms, a 25-bed inpatient unit, physical therapy, laboratory, and digital radiology departments, and a variety of specialty physician clinics on a weekly and monthly basis.  

Elizabethtown Community Hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission and is licensed and certified by the New York State Department of Health and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

About The University of Vermont Health Network
The University of Vermont Health Network is an academic health system that is comprised of six affiliate hospitals, a multi-specialty medical group, and a home health agency. We serve the residents of Vermont and northern New York with a shared mission: working together, we improve people’s lives.  Our partners include:

Our 4,000 health care professionals are driven to provide high quality, cost-efficient care as close to home as possible. Strengthened by our academic connection to the University of Vermont, each of our hospitals remains committed to its local community by providing compassionate, personal care shaped by the latest medical advances and delivered by highly skilled experts.