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Not all hospitals treat elderly the same
Date:6/3/2011

hospital performance in other areas, we need to provide assurance that hospitals are providing high quality care to some of their highest risk patients," said Dr Nathens. This would provide hospitals with the information they need to develop strategies to provide better care to these patients.

When it comes to emergency surgical patients, one strategy could be more collaboration with geriatricians.

In St. Michael's Trauma Program, a geriatrician sees every patient over 60 who experiences a major injury and makes recommendations regarding their care and treatment. This program the first of its kind in Canada -- has shown significant benefits, with fewer consultation requests to internal medicine and psychiatry, meaning more efficient care, and a reduction in delirium, which can be common among elderly hospital patients, costly, preventable, and associated with higher morbidity and mortality. Most importantly, fewer elderly patients are being discharged from the hospital to long-term care facilities than before the partnership with geriatrics began in 2007.

In addition, all patients over 65 are given a risk of fall assessment and a frailty assessment before being sent home.

"This work highlights the need for enhancing quality of care for older people and the need for more geriatricians," said Dr. Camilla Wong, a geriatrician in St. Michael's Geriatric Trauma Consultation Service.

"We don't have very many in Canada fewer than 0.5 for every 10,000 people over age 65. Compared with the U.S., the U.K. and Europe, we have a significant shortage of geriatricians, especially considering the increasing proportion of older people in Canada"


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Contact: Leslie Shepherd
shepherdl@smh.ca
416-864-6094
St. Michael's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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