Changing Hospital Care For Older Adults: The Case for Geriatric Hospitals in the United States

Link to article at PubMed

Gerontol Geriatr Med. 2022 Jul 4;8:23337214221109005. doi: 10.1177/23337214221109005. eCollection 2022 Jan-Dec.


Hospital care of frail older adults is far from optimal. Although some geriatric models of care have been shown to improve outcomes, the effect size is small and models are difficult to fully implement, sustain and replicate. The two root causes for these shortcomings are competing interests (high revenue generating diseases, procedures and surgeries) and current hospital cultures (for example a culture of safety that emphasizes bed alarms and immobility rather than frequent ambulation). Geriatric hospitals would be hospitals completely dedicated to the care of frail older patients, a group which is most vulnerable to the negative consequences of a hospitalization. They would differ from a typical adult hospital because they could implement evidence based principles of successful geriatric models of care on a hospital wide basis, which would make them sustainable and allow for scaling up of proven outcomes. Innovative structural designs, unachievable in a typical adult hospital, would enhance mobility while maintaining safety. Financial viability and stability would be a challenge but should be feasible, likely through affiliation with larger health care systems with other hospitals because of cost savings associated with geriatric models of care (decreased length of stay, increased likelihood of discharge home, without increasing costs).

PMID:35813982 | PMC:PMC9260589 | DOI:10.1177/23337214221109005

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