Better hospital quality of care for the elderly is associated with lower mortality after discharge

Research Activities, March 2011, No. 367

As baby boomers age into senior citizens, they will most likely be admitted to the hospital at some point in their lives. Higher quality of care during hospitalization resulted in a lower likelihood of death 1 year after discharge, reveals a new study. This is important, as nearly one-quarter of all hospitalized older adults die within 1 year after being released from the hospital.

The researchers used a set of 16 Assessing Care of Vulnerable Elders (ACOVE) quality care measures to evaluate the quality of care at one medical center. The measures included such things as assessment of patients' cognitive, functional, and nutritional status; pain assessment; efforts to improve their mobility; and presence of delirium or pressure ulcers. A total of 1,856 inpatients aged 65 and older, who were deemed vulnerable, participated in the survey shortly after they were admitted to the hospital.

One year after discharge, 495 participants (26.7 percent) had died. After controlling for several variables, a higher quality of care was associated with a lower risk of dying after 1 year postdischarge. According to the researchers, every 10 percent increase in quality score meant that patients had a 7 percent less likely chance of dying. They also found that patients who received a nutritional assessment had a 39 percent less chance of dying 1 year after discharge. The study was supported in part by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS16967).

See "Relationship between quality of care of hospitalized vulnerable elders and postdischarge mortality," by Vineet M. Arora, M.D., M.A., Melissa Fish, B.A., Anirban Basu, Ph.D., and others in the September 2010 Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 58(9), pp. 1642-1648.

Current as of March 2011
Internet Citation: Better hospital quality of care for the elderly is associated with lower mortality after discharge: Research Activities, March 2011, No. 367. March 2011. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/research-activities/mar11/0311RA26.html