Graham Center One-Pager

Imperative Integration: Medical Care for Older Patients



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Am Fam Physician. 2006 Oct 1;74(7):1105.

The ecology of medical care changes for older people, with increases in usage of residential and institutional care, emergency departments, and home care. Care integrated across multiple settings, as is proposed for new models of primary care, is essential for the care of older patients.

The prevalence of multiple chronic conditions and the transitions of care between settings distinguish the health care of older adults and complicate the integration of their care. For most people in the United States, the office of a physician is the major platform of health care delivery and a natural location from which agreed-upon goals and management plans can be sustained in a continuous healing relationship with a trusted clinician. Increasing age is associated with greater use of a variety of other care settings, requiring a more sophisticated role for primary care (see accompanying table and figure).1,2

Estimated Number of Persons per 1,000 per Month Who Receive Care in Each Setting

65 to 74 years of age 75 to 84 years of age 85 years of age and older 65 years of age and older

Office

364

417

384

384

HOC

53

54

25

51

Hospital

15

26

29

20

ED

12

15

26

14

Any home care services

33

99

245

74

Formal home care

37

87

133

65

SNF

7

27

104

25

ICF

5

23

102

22

Hospice

1

2

5

2


HOC = hospital outpatient clinic; ED = emergency department; SNF = skilled nursing facility; ICF = immediate-care facility.

*—The same person may receive care in more than one setting.

†—This column, based upon a sample of 1,000 patients in the 65 and older group, represents the experience of the Medicare population.

note: The period from 1996 to 1997 was analyzed to allow direct comparison to similar analyses for the entire population of the United States.2 Figures are rounded to the nearest integer.

Information from references 1 and 2.

Estimated Number of Persons per 1,000 per Month Who Receive Care in Each Setting

View Table

Estimated Number of Persons per 1,000 per Month Who Receive Care in Each Setting

65 to 74 years of age 75 to 84 years of age 85 years of age and older 65 years of age and older

Office

364

417

384

384

HOC

53

54

25

51

Hospital

15

26

29

20

ED

12

15

26

14

Any home care services

33

99

245

74

Formal home care

37

87

133

65

SNF

7

27

104

25

ICF

5

23

102

22

Hospice

1

2

5

2


HOC = hospital outpatient clinic; ED = emergency department; SNF = skilled nursing facility; ICF = immediate-care facility.

*—The same person may receive care in more than one setting.

†—This column, based upon a sample of 1,000 patients in the 65 and older group, represents the experience of the Medicare population.

note: The period from 1996 to 1997 was analyzed to allow direct comparison to similar analyses for the entire population of the United States.2 Figures are rounded to the nearest integer.

Information from references 1 and 2.

Figure.

Monthly ecology of medical care for persons 85 years or older.* (SNF = skilled nursing facility; ICF = immediate-care facility; ED = emergency department; HOC = hospital outpatient clinic.)

The same person may receive care in more than one setting.

Information from references 1 and 2.

View Large


Figure.

Monthly ecology of medical care for persons 85 years or older.* (SNF = skilled nursing facility; ICF = immediate-care facility; ED = emergency department; HOC = hospital outpatient clinic.)

The same person may receive care in more than one setting.

Information from references 1 and 2.


Figure.

Monthly ecology of medical care for persons 85 years or older.* (SNF = skilled nursing facility; ICF = immediate-care facility; ED = emergency department; HOC = hospital outpatient clinic.)

The same person may receive care in more than one setting.

Information from references 1 and 2.

This extension of the ecology model of health care2 to include institutionalized older patients demonstrates a dramatic shift of care to long-term care facilities, emergency departments, and in-home services. As new models of primary care are elaborated3 they must incorporate systems that integrate the care of older patients, many of whom will not be seen in the office setting. Older people and their families need a physician who sticks with them and whom they can trust to ensure safe health care transitions that are faithful to their needs and goals.

note: The information and opinions contained in research from the Graham Center do not necessarily reflect the views or the policy of the AAFP.

Adapted from the Graham Center One-Pager #46. Green LA, et al. Imperative integration: medical care for older patients. October 2006. Available online at http://www.graham-center.org. From the Robert Graham Center: Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care, 1350 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 201, Washington, DC 20036 (telephone: 202–331–3360; fax: 202–331–3374; e-mail: policy@aafp.org).

 

REFERENCES

1. National Center for Health Statistics. Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, 1996. National Home and Hospice Care Survey, 1996. National Nursing Home Survey, 1997.

2. Green LA, Fryer GE, Yawn BP, Lanier D, Dovey SM. The ecology of medical care revisited. N Engl J Med. 2001;344:2021–5.

3. Martin JC, Avant RF, Bowman MA, Bucholtz JR, Dickinson JR, Evans KL, et al. The future of family medicine: a collaborative project of the family medicine community. Ann Fam Med. 2004;2(suppl 1):S3–32.


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