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Tips & Tools for Healthcare Professionals

What Matters

  1. The Conversation Guide and Manual for Identifying Patients’ Health Priorities can help you elicit your patients’ values and health goals, empower your patients to become engaged partners in their health care, and provide you with the information to align their care with their unique health goals and care preferences. Developed by Patient Priorities Care.
  2. The Serious Illness Conversation Guide details steps to elicit important information about your patients’ goals and values when they are facing a serious illness. Developed by Ariadne Labs.
  3. Caring for Those Who Care: Meeting the Needs of Diverse Family Caregivers Toolkit is a resource for healthcare providers that includes important information about caregivers from diverse backgrounds, national caregiving resources, and language access advocacy for older adults. Developed by the Diverse Elders Coalition.
  1. How to Talk to Your Patients about End-of-Life Care Toolkit: A Conversation Ready Toolkit for Clinicians is intended to help healthcare providers address some of the challenges of engaging with patients and families in end-of-life conversations. Developed by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.
  2. PREPARE Pennsylvania Advance Healthcare Directive is a form that communicates how your patients wish to be cared for if they cannot speak for themselves. Developed by PREPARE for Your Care.
  3. The Pennsylvania Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) form documents the types of treatments that seriously ill people want at the end of life. A completed POLST form turns patients’ preferences into medical orders that follow patients across care settings.
  1. The Complete Care Plan is a convenient way for your patients to summarize their health conditions and current treatments for care. Developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  2. What Matters to Me workbook is a guide designed to help people with a serious illness prepare to talk to their healthcare team about what is most important to them. Developed by Ariadne Labs and The Conversation Project, an initiative of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.
  3. What You Should Know about Advance Directives is a tip sheet providing information on what an advance directive is and how your patients can prepare their own. Developed by the Health in Aging Foundation, the public education portal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Medications

  1. The AGS Beers Criteria® for Potentially Inappropriate Medication Use in Older Adults pocket card can help inform clinical decision-making concerning the prescribing of medications for older adults in order to improve safety and quality of care. For more information about the AGS Beers Criteria, visit the American Geriatrics Society.
  2. Alternatives for Medications Listed in the AGS Beers Criteria® for Potentially Inappropriate Medication Use in Older Adults tip sheet provides a modified list of safer medications that are alternatives to some medications listed in the Beers Criteria. Developed by the Health in Aging Foundation, the public education portal of the American Geriatrics Society.
  3. Ten Things Clinicians and Patients Should Question provides evidence-based guidance on treatment for commonly encountered conditions in older adult patients. Developed by Choosing Wisely, an initiative of the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation.

My Drug & Supplement Diary can help your patients keep track of what medications they are taking, the dosage, and when they take it. Developed by the Health in Aging Foundation, the public education portal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Mentation

  1. Guideline
    1. The interactive dementia flow chart provides guidance for the health and social care of people with dementia. Developed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
    2. Differentiating Dementias for Healthcare Professionals outlines the most common forms of dementia, their course, and clinical features. Developed by the Alzheimer’s Association.
  2. Assessment Tools
    1. The Mini-Cog© is a 3-minute instrument that can increase detection of cognitive impairment in older adults. Learn how to administer and score the Mini-Cog©. 
    2. The Mini-Mental State Examination can be used to assess cognitive performance as part of a dementia evaluation.
  3. Staging after Diagnosis
    1. The Global Deterioration Scale provides an overview of the stages of cognitive function for those with a primary degenerative dementia.
    2. The Functional Assessment Staging Test is a scale to describe the stages of dementia.
  4. Treatment
    1. Pharmacologic Treatment
      1. Alzheimer’s Disease Medications fact sheet provides guidance on treatment, medications, dosage and side effects, and additional resources. Developed by the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health.
      2. Learn how Alzheimer’s medications work from the Alzheimer’s Association and the UK’s Alzheimer’s Society.
    2. Nonpharmacologic Treatment
      1. Learn about evidence-based nonpharmacological practices to address behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia featured in The Gerontologist.
      2. Efficacious and Feasible Non-pharmacological Approaches for Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Distress provide an evidence-based summary of non-pharmacologic approaches and considerations for their feasibility. Developed by the Nursing Home Toolkit.
    3. Comprehensive Care Planning
      1. Cognitive assessment and care planning services, under CPT code 99483, allows clinicians to be reimbursed for providing care planning services to individuals with cognitive impairment.
  1. Guideline
    1. The Treatment of Depression in Older Adults Evidence-Based Practices (EBP) Toolkit offers information on assessing and diagnosing, selecting treatment, and delivery, evaluation, and implementation of evidence-based care and practices for older adults. Developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
  2. Assessment Tools
    1. The PHQ-2 is a concise tool that can be used to screen for depression.
    2. The PHQ-9 can be used to further evaluate patients who screen positive on the PHQ-2.
    3. The Geriatric Depression Scale short form is a 15 item, self-report measure of depression in older adults.
  3. Treatment
    1. Pharmacologic Treatment
      1. Selecting Evidence-Based Practices for Treatment of Depression in Older Adults is a guide to help clinicians understand commonly prescribed medications for depression in older adulthood. Developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
    2. Non-pharmacologic Treatment
      1. McGovern et al., 2014 outlines psychosocial interventions including problem solving therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and interpersonal psychotherapy for older adults experiencing depression.
  1. Guideline
    1. The interactive delirium flow chart provides guidance on the health and social care for individuals with delirium. Developed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
    2. Learn about the risk factors for delirium. Figure featured in Nature Reviews Disease Primers (2020).
  2. Assessment Tools
    1. The Ultra-Brief Confusion Assessment Method (UB-CAM) is a new approach for rapid diagnosis of CAM-defined delirium. Watch this brief video to learn more.
    2. The Delirium Superimposed on Dementia Algorithm is part of a comprehensive approach to caring for persons with dementia.
  3. Treatment
    1. Treatment of delirium focuses on identifying and treating the underlying cause of delirium. Find out more about delirium treatment and prevention from the Health in Aging Foundation.
  1. Understanding the Difference Between Mild Forgetfulness and Serious Memory Problems can help decipher typical, age-related memory changes from signs of a serious memory issue. Developed by the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health.
  2. The 10 Warning Signs worksheet can be used by patients to note their memory concerns so they can address them with a friend, family member, or healthcare provider. Developed by the Alzheimer’s Association.
  3. Best Practice Caregiving offers a free online database of evidence-based dementia care programs for family caregivers. Best Practice Caregiving is a partnership between the Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging and the Family Caregiver Alliance.
  4. Support Your Memory with Simple Strategies is a tip sheet describing ways to pay attention to overall health to promote a healthy brain. Developed by the Health in Aging Foundation, the public education portal of the American Geriatrics Society.
  5. The Older Adults and Depression booklet provides information on risk factors for depression, signs and symptoms, how to get help, and treatment options. Developed by the National Institute of Mental Health, part of the National Institutes of Health.
  6. The Emotional Benefits of Exercise infographic describes the beneficial impacts of physical activity on emotional well-being. Developed by the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health.
  7. The Tips for Managing Delirium in Older Adults tip sheet can help family and friends understand the signs of delirium and what they can do to help an older adult with delirium. Developed by the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health.

Mobility

The Algorithm for Fall Risk Screening, Assessment, and Intervention outlines how to implement these three important elements in the care of community-dwelling adults ages 65 and older. Developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  1. Timed Up & Go (TUG) is a test that assesses mobility, balance, walking ability, and fall risk in older adults.
  2. The Tinetti Assessment Tool is a simple and easily administered test that measures gait and balance in the older adult.
  3. The Katz Index of Independence in Activities of Daily Living (Katz ADL) assesses functional status as a measure of a person’s ability to perform activities of daily living independently.
  4. The Lawton Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) Scale is a tool to assess independent living skills.
  1. Help your patients set SMART goals to improve mobility and function.
  2. The Get Fit for Life guide can help your patients learn about the types and benefits of exercise and physical activity, reduce their health risks, and celebrate their progress.
  1. Check for Safety is a checklist to find and fix fall hazards in your home. Developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  2. Tips for Preventing Serious Falls outlines steps to take to reduce the risk of serious falls in aging. Developed by the Health in Aging Foundation, the public education portal of the American Geriatrics Society.
  3. Choosing the Right Cane or Walker is a helpful tip sheet when it comes to using assistive devices to walk more safely and comfortably. Developed by the Health in Aging Foundation, the public education portal of the American Geriatrics Society.
  4. My Mobility Plan is an action plan to help the older adult stay independent, safe at home, and mobile in their community. Developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  5. Your patients can use the Weekly Exercise & Physical Activity Plan to make an individualized plan for themselves – one that they can manage and that interests them. The Goal-Setting Worksheet can be used for patients’ short-term and long-term physical activity goals. Developed by the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health.

National Resources

Eldercare.gov
Elder care locator provides links to local area agencies on aging, information and assistance about long term care, elder abuse prevention, health insurance, legal services, transportation, and driving.

USAging.org Formerly known as the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (N4A), USAging provides links to aging services and local area agencies on aging.

NIA.NIH.gov
The National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health, is working to improve the health and wellbeing of older adults through research. The NIA website provides information on numerous health topics affecting the lives of older adults.