New model for elderly home care effective

Nov. 8, 2010 at 1:51 AM
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INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- A model of home-based care for low-income older adults has been found effective, efficient and less expensive than traditional care, U.S. researchers say.

The home-based care model, developed by the Indiana University School of Medicine and the Regenstrief Institute, both in Indianapolis, involves two teams. A support team, consisting of a nurse practitioner and a social worker, meets with each patient at his or her home and conducts an initial comprehensive geriatric assessment from the medicine cabinet to the kitchen cabinet.

Based on the findings of this team, a larger team involving a geriatrician, pharmacist, physical therapist, mental health social worker and community-based services liaison develops an individualized care plan.

"Healthcare reform is calling out for ways to improve health and lower costs. We have found a strategy to do that for a very vulnerable growing population in a way that shows cost savings over time and has the added benefit of providing services that these seniors desperately need but can't get elsewhere," Dr. Steven R. Counsell of the IU School of Medicine, IU Center for Aging Research and affiliated scientist of the Regenstrief Institute, said in a statement.

"We appreciate recognition of our model of home-based geriatric care management for community-dwelling, low-income older adults as a model that is effective and efficient."

The findings are published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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