Introduction: Health Teams for Frail Older Adults Project

The U.S. population is aging and our society will need innovative solutions to provide health care to an increasing population of older adults. As our team thought about the population where innovation in health care delivery was most urgently needed we thought of our family members, colleagues and patients who struggle most with the complexities of our system. Frail older adults challenge us to think about how to make care simpler even when health gets complicated.

Primary care and geriatric health professionals are overworked and in short supply. Family caregivers are expected to take on more and more care.  Are better teams a solution to improving care for older adults? What health professionals and other staff do we need on those teams? What are the best roles for nurses, physicians, and social workers who care for older adults? Are patients and caregivers on those teams?

We asked these questions in site visits conducted in 2017 all over the United States to understand what health professionals do every day to care for an aging population. We invited experts to a professional meeting on health care teams.  In 2018, we conducted national surveys of frail older adults and caregivers, and a national  survey of primary care and geriatric health professionals.

In 2019, we will be sharing our findings.  We invite your questions, comments, and collaboration.

Karen Donelan, Sc.D, Ed.M., Health Policy Research Center, The Mongan Institute

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