Study: Team-based care benefits elderly

For three out of four common chronic conditions among the elderly, team-based care substantially increases the odds that seniors will receive recommended care, according to a study published in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society.

For the research, Dr. David Reuben, director of geriatrics at the University of California Los Angeles, and his team followed 485 patients over age 75 with more than one of four conditions: urinary incontinence, risk for falls, depression and dementia.The patients were seen in two primary care practices and randomly assigned to either a doctor only or a nurse practitioner (NP)-doctor team.

The percentages of patients receiving recommended care according to the Assessing Care of the Vulnerable Elders (ACOVE 2) quality indicators were as follows:

 

Fall assessment

Dementia

Depression

Incontinence

Physician only

34 percent

38 percent

60-63 percent

19 percent

Physician & NP

80 percent

59 percent

60-63 percent

66 percent

 

Despite this and previous research illustrating the benefits of team-based care, however, physicians referred just one-third of patients in the UCLA study to NPs, Medical Daily noted.

According to Reuben, the findings do not show that physician care is inferior, but that it has the potential to be much better with help. "There are certain things doctors do well, certain things they don't do well, certain things nurse practitioners do better," he told the New York Times. "The job is too big. It's too complicated. There's too much to do."

To learn more:
- see the post from the New York Times
- read the post from Medical Daily
- here's the abstract from the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society