Many elderly patients who are hospitalized are at risk for pressure ulcers, adverse drug reactions, and falls. Proactively identifying those at greatest risk and implementing strategies to prevent harm can lower the incidence of such events.
Aurora Health Care, a nonprofit integrated delivery system in Wisconsin, used a computerized data tool that provides multidisciplinary teams with real-time information on elderly patients’ health risks and allows the teams to customize their treatment plans. The system also makes geriatricians available through teleconferencing to consult with staff at hospitals lacking their own geriatricians.
The percentage of patients receiving urinary catheters decreased from 26.2 percent to 20.1 percent in one hospital, while the share of patients receiving consultations for physical therapy increased from 27.0 percent to 39.1 percent. The model has been extended to another Wisconsin health system, which noted that patient falls decreased over a one-year period from 4.5 per 1,000 patient days to slightly more than one fall per 1,000 patient days.