by Kevin K. Johnson, Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)
I’m writing this post from Chicago where I have the pleasure of joining over 3000 professionals in the field of aging all in attendance at the 2015 Aging in America Conference (AiA15) sponsored by the American Society on Aging. We have over 500 workshops, National Forums, symposia and other sessions all focused on the subject of ‘aging’, taking place over 5 days at the Hyatt Regency hotel.
At this year’s conference, I’ve been particularly interested in the policy sessions that have taken place. These sessions will assist me in my role as an advocate for aging related issues when I visit with representatives and senators in our state capital and in our nations capital.
One trend I’ve noted at several sessions is a transition in clinical modeling to a “patient-centered” approach. There can be a broad interpretation regarding this term. From Wikipedia, care that is defined as “patient-centered”, supports active involvement of patients and their families in the design of new care models and in decision-making about individual options for treatment. The Institute of Medicine defines patient-centered care as: “Providing care that is respectful of and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs, and values, and ensuring that patient values guide all clinical decisions.” Patient-centered care is also one of the overreaching goals of health advocacy, in addition to safer medical systems, and greater patient involvement in healthcare delivery and design. Given that non-consumer stakeholders often don’t know what matters most to patients regarding their ability to get well and stay well, care that is truly patient-centered cannot be achieved without active patient engagement at every level of care design and implementation.
Generally speaking, patients should no longer be simply signing off on a doctor’s order. The patient is to be consulted and counseled through every phase of their care. This is a much more time intensive process on the part of the medical profession. Because of that, patient-centered care may be difficult to realize in regular practice.
WHITE HOUSE CONFERENCE ON AGING — JULY 2015
The White House Conference on Aging (WHCoA) is a once-a-decade conference sponsored by the Executive Office of the President of the United States which makes policy recommendations to the president and Congress regarding the aged. The goals of the conference are to promote the dignity, health and economic security of older Americans. It has been claimed that it is perhaps the best-known White House conference. The Conference is held once a decade, with the most recent conference held in 2005, in preparation for the retirement of the baby boomer generation.
In July of this year, the White House is convening this decades WHCoA. I had the opportunity to sit in on several sessions at AIA15 focused on the WHCoA including one with Ms. Nora Super, who is the Executive Director of the 2015 White House Conference on Aging. Ms. Super assured us that President Obama will be in attendance at the July conference.
Additionally, I’m privileged to have been invited to attend an invitation-only ‘issues forum’ sponsored by the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging (BRIA) in April. Our input will be provided to one of only five pre-conference regional forums held around the nation. Fortunately for us in Ohio, the fifth regional meeting has been scheduled in Cleveland for Monday, April 27.
Given the significance of this historic year (50th anniversary of Medicare, Medicaid, the Older Americans Act, the 80th anniversary of Social Security), it is incumbent on aging advocates everywhere to take note of the WHCoA in July, and assure that our thoughts about the future of aging and aging services in America are heard.