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Aurora Health Care Sponsors Education Event to Improve Care for the Elderly

MILWAUKEE, July 14 /PRNewswire/ -- A hospital visit for an older adult can easily turn into a downward slide into a nursing home. In an effort to prevent such scenarios and to improve health care for the elderly, Aurora Health Care is sponsoring a continuing medical education event Friday, July 17, at the Marquette University Wealser Auditorium.


The need for such education is critical. The number of older adults in the US will soar to 70 million by 2030, when nearly 20 percent of the population will be 65 or older. At the same time a persistent shortage of geriatric caregivers is expected to intensify, impeding the delivery of chronic care to the elderly.

To help ease this need, more than 320 medical professionals are expected to attend the "Going from Good to Great in the Acute Care of Older Adults" event.

The conference, now in its fourth year, brings together medical professionals from Aurora Health Care as well as from across the country, including national experts on geriatric medicine.

Dr. Michael Malone, medical director of senior services at Aurora Health Care and professor of medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, says care for the elderly is not the same as for other adults.

"For 50-year-olds, it may be enough for the doctor to simply put them on a medication while they are in the hospital," Dr. Malone says. "For 85 year olds, just getting the right medicine isn't enough. After a few days in bed they often can't get up on their own, and they may need to go to a skilled care facility. It is imperative that caregivers have a system that identifies vulnerable older adults and gets them on the right track."

Sessions of the continuing medical education event include:

  • Delirium in Older Persons: Advancing Practice through Research
  • Vulnerable Elders at the Time of Transitions in Care
  • Using the Electric Medical Record to Improve Care of Hospitalized Seniors
  • Practical Steps to Improve "Transitions in Care" at your Hospital
  • The Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP) - Improving Acute Care of the Elderly Population
  • In Hospital Falls - Which Strategies Can the Interdisciplinary Team Use to Help Older Adults?
  • Holding a Family Meeting and Defining the Patient's Goals
  • Lessons Learned on Improving Patient Satisfaction of Hospitalized Seniors
  • Why Would Seniors Come to You?

There will also be a reception on Thursday, July 16, featuring event speakers Sharon K. Inouye, M.D., M.P.H.; Eric Coleman, M.D., and attorney Robert W. Roth, board chairman of the Wisconsin Masonic Home, Inc., Three Pillars Senior Living Communities at Dousman, Wis. The reception will take place at the Humphrey Scottish Rite Masonic Center, 790 N. Van Buren Street, Milwaukee.

Dr. Inouye is a Harvard Medical School professor at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center as well as director of the Aging Brain Center at the Institute for Aging Research.

Dr. Coleman is a professor of medicine in the division of health care, research and geriatric medicine at the University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center as well as the director of the Care Transitions Program.

Roth is speaking on behalf of the community about the deep impact the Acute Care for the Elderly program has had on Three Pillars.

"Something as simple as making sure an elderly patient's electrolytes are stable can mean the difference between this patient being able think clearly or showing signs of delirium," Roth says. "This is a very small example of what ACE is all about."

The Freemasons of Wisconsin have had a long relationship with Aurora Sinai Medical Center and its predecessors, including charitable support of the ACE Unit, which has impacted many people in the Masonic community and the greater Southeastern Wisconsin community at large.

The Masonic commitment began with a $1.5 million donation to create the Masonic Diagnostic Center, which has evolved into support of the ACE of Hearts program at Aurora Sinai through a $650,000 donation in January 2006.

The Masonic Diagnostic Center was made possible with a $30 assessment of each member of the Wisconsin Masons over three years. Over time, it became apparent that funding for the diagnostic center model might be better used in other health care areas such as improving care for older adults. Since then the Masons have helped support Aurora's efforts to applying Acute Care for the Elderly concepts to heart care and other areas. Acute Care for the Elderly, or ACE, is a health care model that was developed in Cleveland and Akron, Ohio. The ACE program at Aurora Sinai Medical Center opened in September 2000 and has become a model for other hospitals throughout Aurora.

Three Pillars Senior Living Communities continue their relationship with the Aurora Sinai ACE Program through community screenings and health-based events, such as the Masonic Home Picnic, August 2, in Dousman, as well as planned programs to support program awareness among campus residents and the local community as well.

The partnership with the Wisconsin Masons has been instrumental in Acute Care for Elders in Wisconsin, Dr. Malone says.

"They were initial partners in the development of Wisconsin's first ACE unit at Aurora Sinai Medical Center," he says. "Each time that we needed additional community support to expand the ACE program, the Masons were there to help us."

Aurora Health Care is a not-for-profit Wisconsin health care provider and a national leader in efforts to improve health care quality. Aurora offers services at sites in more than 90 communities throughout eastern Wisconsin.

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SOURCE Aurora Health Care
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