Howard Young Medical Center Evaluates Geriatric Focused Service Model

Howard Young Medical Center (HYMC) is evaluating the current and future needs of a geriatric service model targeted for individuals who are assessed as being at risk for hospital complications.

The vision for geriatric care at HYMC is to provide appropriate and evidence based care for all individuals over 65 years old that focuses on maintenance or enhancement of function, minimization of hospital associated complications, and smooth transition to home or other care setting. The model would include providers, nursing staff, ancillary support services (such as physical and occupational therapists, dieticians, and pastoral care), and trained volunteers to use specific interventions directed at risk factors for cognitive and functional decline.

In 2009, HYMC cared for 1,983 patients over the age of 65. These patients made up 48 percent of the total patients cared for during that year. Market demographic data obtained through Ministry Health Care’s Business Development Office projections through 2013 suggests a 1 to 3 percent increase in persons over 65 in the HYMC service area.

“In 2011 the first of the baby boomers will turn 65 years old. This generation of adults born between 1943 and 1960 represent approximately seventy six million Americans,” said Sheila Clough, President, Howard Young Health Care. “By 2020 it is projected that 1 in 6 Americans will be considered elderly, with 6.5 million individuals over the age of 85.”

According to the Wisconsin Hospital Association data for 2007 for the central and northern regions of the state, persons age 65 and older utilized hospital services 7.7 times more than the group age 5 to 44.

“Falls, pressure ulcers, adverse drug reactions, delirium and other hospital acquired complications contribute to increased length of stay and higher costs per patient stay, particularly in the geriatric population who is at higher risk for these complications,” said Rebecca A. Morin, Vice President of Patient Care Services, Howard Young Health Care. “A geriatric model of care would assist in improving quality of care, and reduction in costs, length of stay, and readmissions.”

Implementation of a geriatric service model exemplifies Ministry Health Care’s four core values of Presence, Service, Vision, and Justice. This model will focus on specific initiatives and programs to meet the needs of an at risk population in our community.

“This patient population represents a significant portion of Howard Young Medical Center’s volume,” said Clough. “It is crucial that health care organizations begin to develop strategies that will address the unique needs of the geriatric population, and at Howard Young Medical Center, we are excited about our efforts to put our geriatric patients’ needs first through the development of a comprehensive geriatric program.”

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