Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH) recently received national recognition as an “Age-Friendly Health System,” joining more than 100 hospitals in the US that are implementing best practices to enhance care for older adults. The movement is led by The John A. Hartford Foundation and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement to encourage hospitals and other care settings to deliver safe, reliable, high-quality care based on what matters most to older adults as individuals.
SMH is the only hospital in the region and one of a handful in Florida with Age-Friendly status. Health systems participating in the initiative are testing and putting into place a set of evidence-based interventions—known as the “4Ms”—which have proven to be essential in providing better care to older patients: What Matters, Medication, Mentation and Mobility. An example of the “4Ms” in action at SMH includes the deployment of specially trained mobility technol ogists in nursing areas to help patients get moving earlier during their hospital stay, which can result in improved patient outcomes. Another 4M initiative is SMH's REACH pilot program, in which teen volunteers visit patients 65 and older on select nursing units to provide friendly conversation and activities.