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Aging with grace: In-home assessments lead to better care, lower health costs
Date:3/8/2011

ing of a nurse practitioner and a social worker, meet with each patient in the home to conduct an initial comprehensive geriatric assessment from the medicine cabinet to the kitchen cabinet. Based on the support team's findings, a larger interdisciplinary team (including a geriatrician, pharmacist, mental health social worker, and community-based services liaison) helps develop an individualized care plan.

Then the ball is back in the support team's court. The nurse practitioner and the social worker meet with the patient's primary care doctor to come up with a healthcare plan consistent with the patient's goals, such as maintaining the ability to participate in social and religious activities. The support team then works with the patient to implement the plan which contains strategies for medical issues of concern as well as elements related to maintaining quality of life. With the assistance of an electronic medical record and web-based tracking system, the GRACE support team provides ongoing comprehensive care management.

Because it improves health and quality of life, GRACE is cost effective. By the second year GRACE even saves money for the sickest (those with three to four chronic diseases). Results of the GRACE trial were published in the Dec. 12, 2007, issue of the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA). The cost analysis of the GRACE model was published in the August 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

"The GRACE model improves health and reduces healthcare costs by lowering hospitalization rates in high risk seniors. The GRACE intervention can be financed by a health plan under managed care Medicare using the savings from fewer hospitalizations to offset GRACE program expenses. Most seniors, however, are not enrolled in managed care Medicare plans, and most services provided by the GRACE program are not currently reimbursed by traditional fee-for-service Medicare. Thus, payme
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Contact: Cindy Fox Aisen
caisen@iupui.edu
317-274-7722
Indiana University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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