SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • veteran;
  • geriatrics;
  • extended care;
  • long-term care;
  • VA

The leaders of Geriatrics and Extended Care (GEC) in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) undertook a strategic planning process that led to approval in 2009 of a multidisciplinary, evidence-guided strategic plan. This article reviews the four goals contained in that plan and describes VHA's progress in addressing them. The goals included transforming the healthcare system to a veteran-centric approach, achieving universal access to a panel of services, ensuring that the Veterans Affair's (VA) healthcare workforce was adequately prepared to manage the needs of the growing elderly veteran population, and integrating continuous improvement into all care enhancements. There has been substantial progress in addressing all four goals. All VHA health care has undergone an extensive transformation to patient-centered care, has enriched the services it can offer caregivers of dependent veterans, and has instituted models to better integrate VA and non-VA cares and services. A range of successful models of geriatric care described in the professional literature has been adapted to VA environments to gauge suitability for broader implementation. An executive-level task force developed a three-pronged approach for enhancing the VA's geriatric workforce. The VHA's performance measurement approaches increasingly include incentives to enhance the quality of management of vulnerable elderly adults in primary care. The GEC strategic plan was intended to serve as a road map for keeping VHA aligned with an ambitious but important long-term vision for GEC services. Although no discrete set of resources was appropriated for fulfillment of the plan's recommendations, this initial report reflects substantial progress in addressing most of its goals.