Optimal aging institute creates new index to measure quality of life for older adults

Optimal aging institute creates new index to measure quality of life for older adults

Anna Faul, Ph.D.

A new assessment tool developed by the University of Louisville’s Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging aims to measure functionality and quality of life for older adults with multiple chronic conditions (MCC).

The Flourish Index is a set of evidence-based, quality of care indicators across six determinants of health: biological, psychological, health behaviors, health services, environmental and social. Some specific factors include preventive care, medication management, process of care measures, promotion of health behaviors, transportation, isolation, income challenges and food access.

The index resulted from the institute’s research associated with the Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP).

Executive Director of the institute, Anna Faul, Ph.D., said the need for a broader assessment tool was clear.

“The majority of other indicators are disease and setting-specific and don’t fully account for the functional and quality of life factors affecting older adults with MCC,” she said. “Other scales and measures often do not capture a patient’s life satisfaction but focus solely on medical improvement.”

The federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has awarded UofL’s institute with grant funding to lead the two-day training Sept. 20 – 21 for other GWEP programs at the University of Iowa, Rush University, University of Utah and Indiana University.

The workshop will focus on the customization of the Flourish Index - specifically, how to align it with the Medicare Annual Wellness Visit, how the index can be used to facilitate primary care transformation and how it can be implemented by the health care workforce in collaboration with community-based services. Central to the conversation will be the index’s role in demonstrating the sustainability of comprehensive care coordination.

“We are honored by the recognition from HRSA to teach other GWEP programs about our Flourish Index,” Faul said. “The GWEP programs attending the workshop are united in our interest to develop new measures that fully capture the holistic health and well-being of patients. Being selected to host this workshop demonstrates that people are recognizing the exciting and transformative potential of our Flourish Index,” she said.

This workshop is part of the institute’s annual effort to celebrate Optimal Aging Month. Learn more about events happening in September.