Aging Population

As part of its commitment to enhancing primary care and achieving the Quadruple Aim of: (1) improved health of populations; (2) improved experience of care; (3) lower per capita costs; and (4) joy in work, Quality Counts (QC) is working to specifically address the needs of the region’s older adult population. This large and growing demographic is characterized by multiple chronic illnesses, poor care coordination, rural isolation and poverty, as well as a lack of providers that have a full understanding of the constraints and issues of growing old (i.e. geriatric medicine).

Adding to these challenges is an anticipated shortage of  primary care physicians and healthcare workers, including those who have been trained in strategies that meet the specific healthcare issues and concerns of older adults.

Addressing the healthcare needs of Maine’s older adults has been and will be a key strategic objective for QC.

Using the Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Roadmap as a guide, three Maine organizations (Maine Quality Counts, Maine’s Area Agencies on Aging, and Dirigo Maine Geriatric Society) collaborated on a Maine Health Access Foundation grant to assess the care of older persons in primary care. Spectrum Generations received the grant on behalf of the grant partners.

A project leader, guided by a Leadership Team, interviewed a sample of 64 geriatricians, primary care providers, behavioral health practitioners, physical and occupational therapists, consumers, and other health professionals associated with Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), in addition to health systems, home health agencies, community-based organizations, state agencies, and non-profit associations. The results from these interviews reflected broad and widespread support for the recommendations included in the PCMH Roadmap for Older Adults (see Resources below).

Going forward, QC will continue to work closely with the Leadership Team in identifying next steps.