Improving Care Transitions: A Key Component of Health Reform
August 16, 2019

The geriatric floating interdisciplinary transition team

Older adults often receive suboptimal care during hospitalizations and transitions to postacute settings. Inpatient geriatric services have been shown to increase care quality but have not improved patient outcomes consistently. Acute Care for the Elderly units improve patient outcomes but are resource intensive. Transitional care has been shown to reduce hospital readmissions and healthcare costs. This article describes the Geriatric Floating Interdisciplinary Transition Team (Geri-FITT), a model that combines the strengths of inpatient geriatric evaluation and comanagement and transitional care models by creating an inpatient comanagement service that also delivers transitional care. The Geri-FITT model is designed to improve the hospital care of older adults and their transitions to postacute settings. In Geri-FITT, a geriatrician-geriatric nurse practitioner team assesses patients, comanages geriatric syndromes, provides staff education, encourages patient self-management, communicates with primary care providers, and follows up with patients soon after discharge. This pilot cohort study of Geri-FITT included hospitalized patients aged 70 and older on four general medicine services (two Geri-FITT, two usual care) at an academic medical center (N=717). The study assessed the effect of Geri-FITT on patients’ care transition quality (Care Transitions Measure) and their satisfaction with hospital care (four questions). The results indicate that Geri-FITT is associated with slightly higher, though not statistically significantly so, quality care transitions and greater patient satisfaction with inpatient care. Geri-FITT may be a feasible approach to enhancing inpatient management and transitional care for older adults. Further study of its effect on these and other outcomes in other healthcare settings seems warranted.

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