The Sepulveda VA Geriatric Evaluation Unit: data on four-year outcomes and predictors of improved patient outcomes.
Data from its first four operating years indicate that the Sepulveda VA Geriatric Evaluation Unit is having consistent beneficial effects on patient care. These benefits include improved diagnostic accuracy, reduced use of drugs, improved functional status, and improved placement location. However, not all patients benefit equally, and differences between patient responses highlight the need to select those who will benefit most from relatively costly Geriatric Evaluation Unit services. Discriminant and regression analyses were performed on 98 consecutive patients to determine which patients admitted to the Geriatric Evaluation Unit would show greatest improvement in terms of placement, functional status, one-year survival, and living location, and which patients would be treated most efficiently in terms of length of stay. Patient characteristics on admission significantly associated with discharge home included a relatively high functional and cognitive status, the absence of an unstable medical problem, and not being expected to need nursing home placement by the referring physician. The latter two factors alone predicted actual placement location on the next 101 patients admitted to the Geriatric Evaluation Unit with high predictive accuracy (88.5 per cent). Factors predictive of patients whose functional status would improve on the Geriatric Evaluation Unit included absence of an unstable medical problem and being over 75 years old (predictive accuracy was 82.5 per cent). Two major factors associated with long patient stays on the Geriatric Evaluation Unit were low functional status scores and not living in own home or with family. These analyses indicate criteria that may be useful in selecting patients for inpatient geriatric evaluation and rehabilitation programs.
Rubenstein, LZ; Wieland, D; English, P; Josephson, K; Sayre, JA; Abrass, IB
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