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Health Care Week In Review: Acute Care for Elders, Cost Saving Tools, Alternative Mental Health Care, Unstable Hospital Discharges

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


• Some hospitals have established a separate medical unit for the treatment of elderly patients. Hospitalization can be very taxing on the elderly, especially when faced with drug side-effects, interrupted sleep, unappetizing food and long days in bed. San Francisco General opened the Acute Care for Elders (ACE) ward in 2007 and focuses on how to get patients back home and living as independently as possible. With only about 200 of these units around the country, they are rare yet promising. ACE units have been shown to reduce hospital-inflicted disabilities in older patients and decrease the length of stay. Source

• The greatest impact on reducing costs to health care organizations and maximizing ROI comes from remote patient monitoring. Coming in second and third are patient engagement platforms and EHRs (electronic health records systems). In order to help strengthen the quality of technology implementation in health care organizations, there should be priority in designing workflows that improve efficiency and technology adoption. Source

• A new, alternative approach to treating psychosis allows the voices in the patients' heads to be directly addressed by support group members. In this holistic, nonmedical approach, members help one another understand each voice, as a metaphor, rather than try to extinguish it. The Open Dialogue treatment approach begins with a team of mental health specialists who visit homes and discuss the crisis with the affected person rather than resorting to medication. The culture aims to provide a nonpsychiatric label, avoiding the words "patient" or "treatment". Source

• Studies have found that 20 percent of hospital patients are sent home before their vital signs are stable, increasing their likelihood of readmission or even death. Researchers suggest hospitals take further action to prevent such mishaps by closely monitoring patients' vital signs and conducting thorough outpatient follow-up education. Source

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news.
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