Study: Specialized Hospital Care for Older Adults Saved Nearly $1k Per Patient

A specialized care program for older patients generated savings of nearly $1,000 per patient compared to older adults in usual inpatient care programs, according to a study in Health Affairs.

Researchers studied the impact of the Acute Care for Elders model, a multidisciplinary approach for older adults that includes a specially designed hospital environment, patient-centered care to promote independent functioning, early discharge planning and regular review of medical care. The researchers studied 1,632 patients aged 70 or older who were admitted for at least two days for an acute medical illness to a private, non-profit teaching hospital from August 1993 to May 1997. Patients were randomly assigned to either Acute Care for Elders Units or usual care.


Length of stay for the Acute Care for Elders group was 6.7 days per patient compared with 7.3 days per patient for those in the usual care group. Length of stay and cost were positively correlated. The total inpatient cost for patients in the Acute Care for Elders program was $9,477 per patient, while the total cost for patients receiving usual care was $10,451 per patient.

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