Dr. Alicia Arbaje, a geriatrician at Johns Hopkins, has come up with a list of indicators that can help patients and caregivers determine whether a hospital is doing a good job of serving older patients.
Arbaje, who is in the process of getting the senior care quality index research published, says she has found when doing formal research on senior care quality that one of the top indicators is whether a hospital makes a point of trying to identify and address a patient’s problems with functioning outside the hospital.
That might like an obvious matter for doctors to ask about, but many do not think to do so, Arbaje says.
A good hospital also should test a patient’s cognitive abilities, to make sure the patient can get by outside the hospital without extra support and it should closely monitor the medications the patient is taking, Arbaje says.
By making sure patients function well, both physically and mentally, outside the hospital, a hospital can reduce the likelihood that a patient it discharges will return a short time later, Arbaje says.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Princeton, N.J., has given Arbaje two grants, and it included an account for her senior quality index research in a profile.
Arbaje now is working with living space engineers to identify home environment problems that may interfere with older people’s ability to shift from hospitals back to their homes, the foundation says.