Aging with GRACE: New health care delivery model improves outcomes, saves money

Steven R. Counsell, M.D., is the Mary Elizabeth Mitchell Professor of Geriatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine, an IU Center for Aging Research center scientist and an affiliated scientist of the Regenstrief Institute. Photo credit: Indiana University School of MedicineINDIANAPOLIS – A team approach to preventive healthcare delivery for older adults developed by researchers from Indiana University and the Regenstrief Institute improves health and quality of life, decreased emergency department visits and lowered hospital admission rates. By the second year the new model saved money for the sickest (those with three to four chronic diseases), and in the third year, a year after the home-based intervention ended, it saved even more.

The cost analysis of the home-based program appears in the August 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (JAGS). In a previous study published in the Dec. 12, 2007, issue of the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) the researchers reported their success in improving both quality of care and health-related quality of life measures while reducing emergency department use. Hospital admissions were reduced in the second year of the program for those at high risk of hospitalization.

Geriatric Resources for Assessment and Care of Elders (GRACE) was developed by researchers from the IU School of Medicine, the IU Center for Aging Research and the Regenstrief Institute to involve seniors and their primary care physicians in a program to optimize health and functional status, and to decrease high-cost emergency department visits and hospital admissions.

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