Designed to enhance care for older adults during a hospital stay, the Allegheny Health Network (AHN) Division of Geriatrics' Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP) is among a small number of programs nationwide that have received the 'Center of Excellence' designation
PITTSBURGH, Dec. 7, 2023 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Allegheny Health Network's (AHN) Division of Geriatrics, part of the AHN Primary Care Institute, and the AHN Nursing Institute announced today that its Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP) has been awarded 'Center of Excellence' (COE) status by the American Geriatrics Society (AGS). AHN is one of just seven sites nationally to achieve the COE designation, out of approximately 200 programs implemented across the country and around the world.
The esteemed designation was awarded following AHN's demonstration of a longstanding commitment to the AGS care model, formally known as 'CoCare®: HELP,' and for sustaining and expanding the program across AHN. The program was first implemented at AHN's West Penn Hospital before expanding to Allegheny General Hospital (AGH).
According to AGS, HELP is a well-studied, effective and innovative model of hospital care designed to prevent both delirium and functional decline among older patients. The program is intended to integrate the principles of geriatrics into standard nursing and medical care on any hospital unit, and to bring geriatric expertise to bear on patient care decisions. Among the program's benefits, it has been demonstrated to improve patient outcomes and satisfaction of care, lower costs of care, reduce hospital readmissions, and more.
Supported by an AHN multidisciplinary care team, onsite elder nurse life specialists work alongside specially trained hospital volunteers at AGH and West Penn to provide targeted interventions and address a broad scope of geriatric issues known to contribute to cognitive and functional decline during hospitalization. This can include cognitive orientation and stimulation activities, therapeutic activities, sleep enhancement strategies, exercise and mobilization, hearing and vision aids, feeding assistance and dehydration prevention, family support and education and individualized discharge planning.
"This status recognizes our adherence to national program standards, honors our achievement of favorable patient outcomes, and provides AHN the opportunity to serve as an educational site for acute geriatric care," said Lyn Weinberg, MD, geriatrician and director of the Division of Geriatrics at AHN. "We are extremely grateful to the American Geriatrics Society for recognizing our program in this special way and appreciate their continued partnership in the care of older adults at AHN."
Dr. Weinberg says that with the successful implementation and sustainment of HELP at West Penn and AGH, the division intends to gradually expand the program to other AHN hospitals.
To learn more about geriatric health care services at AHN, visit http://www.ahn.org/primary-care/geriatrics.
About Allegheny Health Network
Allegheny Health Network (AHN.org) is an integrated healthcare delivery system serving the greater Western Pennsylvania region. The Network is composed of 14 hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, Health + Wellness Pavilions, an employed physician organization, home and community-based health services, a research institute and a group purchasing organization. The Network provides patients with access to a complete spectrum of advanced medical services, including nationally recognized programs for primary and emergency care, cardiovascular disease, cancer care, orthopedic surgery, neurology and neurosurgery, women's health, diabetes and more. AHN employs approximately 21,000 people, has more than 2,600 physicians on its medical staff and serves as a clinical campus for Drexel University College of Medicine and the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine.
About the American Geriatrics Society
Founded in 1942, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) is a nationwide, not-for-profit society of geriatrics healthcare professionals dedicated to improving the health, independence, and quality of life of older people. Its 6,000+ members include geriatricians, geriatrics nurse practitioners, social workers, family practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, and internists who are pioneers in serious-illness care for older individuals, with a focus on championing interprofessional teams, eliciting personal care goals, and treating older people as whole persons. For more information, visit AmericanGeriatrics.org.
SOURCE Allegheny Health Network