• Nancy Griffin

New Report by The Center for Discovery & JAHF Could Hold Key to Healthy Aging

Report prepared by NORC at the University of Chicago defines five key components to healthy aging: Evaluation, Schedule, Socialization, Nutrition and Environment.


The Center for Discovery® (TCFD, The Center) and The John A. Hartford Foundation (JAHF) released a report, prepared by NORC at the University of Chicago (NORC), entitled The Center for Discovery Program Evaluation: How the HealthE6® Model Can Support Healthy Aging. Because TCFD's six-pillared approach—the HealthE6® Model—provides a compelling example of effective, person-centered care for the disabled population, including older adults, JAHF engaged NORC to evaluate whether its components could be translated to the care of older adults in a widely diverse range of care settings across the United States. This issue has become particularly acute as older adults for the first time outnumber children in U.S. history.


Based on over twenty hours of interviews, several days onsite, close document reviews, and assessment of outcomes provided by TCFD, the report by NORC identified five core components of the HealthE6® Model that can be piloted in other settings, at varying levels of financial investment and capabilities. These core components include:

  1. Initial and ongoing assessment of the individual's physical and mental wellbeing (Evaluation);

  2. A schedule that includes physical activity and a consistent sleep routine (Schedule);

  3. Meaningful socialization with staff, friends, and family (Socialization);

  4. A nourishing whole food-based diet (Nutrition)

  5. An adaptive environment that allows for safe, independent engagement (Environment).

The report also identified important opportunities for additional research. The report notes that "the TCFD model works because of its staff members—who are engaged, trained, and well-supported by The Center—and its mission-driven, dedicated leadership. A separate study on what makes the staff successful, despite high-stress roles, would allow further documentation and dissemination of best practices."


In addition, the report notes that "while TCFD has designed and implemented a robust model of care to support transitions from one life stage to the next, what is currently missing is the opportunity to provide end-of-life care with a focus on a community-based palliative care. Over time, as more residents enter old age, The Center will need to build or adjust its current programs to address this gap." With pilot program funding to support transition infrastructure and staffing models, TCFD would be well suited to develop these supports and for the first time significantly advance the continuum of complex care for older adults so that they can be supported throughout an entire lifetime.


"More and more, we are seeing the merging of aging and disability issues in our work as a funder dedicated to improving the care of older adults," said Scott Bane, JD, MPA, JAHF Program Officer. "Thanks to the Age-Friendly Health Systems movement that we support, we are moving to a future where all older adults can age well regardless of their abilities. And thanks to TCFD's cutting-edge work, we are advancing so that people of all abilities will be able to age well."


"The US has a quickly growing population of older adults and substandard options for residential care. The Center for Discovery has developed a model of residential care that could serve as an example of how seniors can live independently and with integrity," said Dianne Munevar, Senior Director of Health Care Strategy at NORC. "Our evaluation report includes tangible yet impactful solutions that can be implemented in nursing homes and assisted living centers—without significant financial resources or workforce burden."


"It was an honor to work with remarkable teams at JAHF and NORC to evaluate and document The Center's HealthE6 Model. We have been working for decades to advance new models of care and improve outcomes for all individuals with complex needs," said Patrick H. Dollard, CEO of TCFD. "The lessons we have learned can be applied to a range of care settings and we are committed to sharing our best practices with the world. As we say at The Center – what happens here, matters everywhere."


Click here to see the report: https://bit.ly/NORCReport_HealthyAging.

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