Acute Geriatric Units Improve Elderly Care

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Patients treated at specialist geriatric units more likely to live at home after dischargePublish date: Jan 23, 2009
FRIDAY, Jan. 23 (HealthDay News) — Elderly patients hospitalized with acute medical disorders are more likely to live at home after discharge if they are treated in acute geriatric wards rather than conventional hospital care, according to research published online Jan. 22 in BMJ.

Juan J. Baztan, M.D., of the Hospital Central Cruz Roja in Madrid, Spain, and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of 11 studies — including five randomized trials, four non-randomized trials and two case-control studies — of the treatment of adults with acute medical disorders admitted to acute geriatric units or conventional care.

Patients treated in acute geriatric units were 18 percent less likely than their counterparts treated on conventional wards to have functional decline at discharge and were 30 percent more likely to live at home after discharge, the researchers found. The rate of case fatality and the costs were the same in both groups, the authors note. They point to several areas that need further research.

"Research should focus on the impact of acute geriatric units on functional decline in the medium term and should try to identify the specific activities associated with this effect," Baztan and colleagues write. "Larger sample sizes may be needed to evaluate the impact of acute geriatric units on case fatality."


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