Millions of Medicare beneficiaries are admitted to the hospital each year because they cannot be safely discharged to go home. Such hospitalizations come with an increased risk of infection, falls, delirium, functional decline and death. They also come with increased costs to the patient, provider and payer. A recent study found a significant reduction in the total cost of care when these older adults were treated in a geriatric emergency care department instead of a more traditional ED.
According to the study published Marh 1 on JAMA Network Open, this specialized geriatric emergency care can lower Medicare expenditures by up to $3,200 per beneficiary. Yet, there are only about 200 specialized geriatric emergency departments in the U.S., according to the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), which accredits geriatric EDs. So, if patients fare better and it costs less, why aren’t more hospitals establishing geriatric EDs? Continue reading
At the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, those with the disease typically only lived a few years beyond diagnosis. Today, breakthrough drugs, earlier diagnosis and more evidence-based treatment mean those with HIV or AIDS can live longer, healthier lives. But with these advances come new challenges associated with aging.
With this longer life expectancy, individuals living with long-term HIV infection exhibit many clinical characteristics commonly observed in aging: multiple chronic diseases or conditions, the use of multiple medications, changes in physical and cognitive abilities, and increased vulnerability to stressors. Continue reading
A panel of experts in geriatric care has identified nearly 100 medications that should be avoided or used with caution among the older population in the latest update to the Beers Criteria for Potentially Inappropriate Medication Use in Older Adults.
The recommendations by the American Geriatrics Society are widely used by clinicians, educators, researchers, health care administrators and regulators to ensure medications are appropriately prescribed. Continue reading
A unique emergency department program focused on geriatric transitional care is helping older patients avoid unnecessary hospital admissions by as much as 33 percent, according to results of a study from Northwestern University Hospital in Chicago, Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, and St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center in New Jersey. They’re collaborating on The Geriatric Emergency Department Innovations (GEDI WISE) program, an interdisciplinary approach to improving acute geriatric emergency care.
The program keeps older adults out of the hospital while keeping them safe, and has shown to prevent both 72-hour and 30-day readmissions. Continue reading
Photo: National Institute on Aging – NIH
Family caregivers often struggle when finding appropriate care options for their loved ones. Siblings may argue over different approaches. Spouses may need a helping hand at home. Finding an assisted living or skilled nursing facility can be frightening and confusing. Cost and quality of care are always concerns.
The good news is they don’t have to wade through these issues alone. Geriatric care managers — specialists in helping older adults and their families plan and coordinate care — can be a lifesaving option for many people. Continue reading