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Geriatric Care Principles Can Be Applied to Care Transitions

Framework includes identifying factors that complicate transitions; building recovery plans

MONDAY, March 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Approaches from geriatric care can be developed to provide a framework for care transition activities, according to a study published online Feb. 21 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Alicia I. Arbaje, M.D., M.P.H., from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and colleagues developed a framework for incorporating principles of geriatric care into care transition activities.

The researchers identified five principles from geriatrics care that could be incorporated into care transitions, including identifying the factors that complicate care transitions, which encompass domains at the health care system, provider, and patient level. Care "receivers," including outpatient care providers, home health care agencies, and family members, should be engaged to optimize transitions. In addition, home care should be tailored to meet patient needs. Recovery plans should be expanded and integrated into transitional care. The risk factors for preventable readmissions should be evaluated so that these readmissions can be predicted and avoided. Finally, a palliative approach should be adopted when appropriate, to optimize patient and family goals of care.

"Patients with complex needs can benefit from optimal transitional care, regardless of age," the authors write. "Ultimately, the principles used to improve care transitions for the most complex older adults can lead the way to optimizing care for all populations."

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