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Is the acute care of frail elderly patients in a comprehensive geriatric assessment unit superior to conventional acute medical care?

Authors Ekerstad N, Karlson BW, Dahlin Ivanoff S, Landahl S, Andersson D, Heintz E, Husberg M, Alwin J

Received 6 October 2016

Accepted for publication 12 November 2016

Published 16 December 2016 Volume 2017:12 Pages 1—9

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CIA.S124003

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Akshita Wason

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Walker


Niklas Ekerstad,1,2 Björn W Karlson,3 Synneve Dahlin Ivanoff,4 Sten Landahl,5 David Andersson,6 Emelie Heintz,7 Magnus Husberg,2 Jenny Alwin2

1
Department of Cardiology, NU (NÄL-Uddevalla) Hospital Group, Trollhattan, 2Division of Health Care Analysis, Department of Medical and Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, 3Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine, Institute of Medicine, 4Centre for Ageing and Health, AGECAP, Department of Health and Rehabilitation, 5Department of Geriatrics, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, 6Division of Economics, Department of Management and Engineering, Linköping University, Linköping, 7Health Outcomes and Economic Evaluation Research Group, Medical Management Centre, Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate whether the acute care of frail elderly patients in a comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA) unit is superior to the care in a conventional acute medical care unit.
Design: This is a clinical, prospective, randomized, controlled, one-center intervention study.
Setting: This study was conducted in a large county hospital in western Sweden.
Participants: The study included 408 frail elderly patients, aged ≥75 years, in need of acute in-hospital treatment. The patients were allocated to the intervention group (n=206) or control group (n=202). Mean age of the patients was 85.7 years, and 56% were female.
Intervention: This organizational form of care is characterized by a structured, systematic interdisciplinary CGA-based care at an acute elderly care unit.
Measurements: The primary outcome was the change in health-related quality of life (HRQoL) 3 months after discharge from hospital, measured by the Health Utilities Index-3 (HUI-3). Secondary outcomes were all-cause mortality, rehospitalizations, and hospital care costs.
Results: After adjustment by regression analysis, patients in the intervention group were less likely to present with decline in HRQoL after 3 months for the following dimensions: vision (odds ratio [OR] =0.33, 95% confidence interval [CI] =0.14–0.79), ambulation (OR =0.19, 95% CI =0.1–0.37), dexterity (OR =0.38, 95% CI =0.19–0.75), emotion (OR =0.43, 95% CI =0.22–0.84), cognition (OR = 0.076, 95% CI =0.033–0.18) and pain (OR =0.28, 95% CI =0.15–0.50). Treatment in a CGA unit was independently associated with lower 3-month mortality adjusted by Cox regression analysis (hazard ratio [HR] =0.55, 95% CI =0.32–0.96), and the two groups did not differ significantly in terms of hospital care costs (P>0.05).
Conclusion: Patients in an acute CGA unit were less likely to present with decline in HRQoL after 3 months, and the care in a CGA unit was also independently associated with lower mortality, at no higher cost.

Keywords:
frailty, elderly, acute care, intervention, comprehensive geriatric assessment

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