Tailored care for older people with covid can prevent functional impairment

Barcelona's Hospital del Mar implements a system that works for 70% of patients

The hospitalisation of elderly people with covid-19 and the isolation imposed on them by the disease take their toll on their functional capacity. To alleviate this deterioration, the Hospital del Mar has implemented a system of care adapted to the needs of these more fragile patients and the result has been successful in 70% of the patients. Doctors and nurses at the centre have published the good results of Acute Care for Elders (ACE) in the journal Geriatric Nursing.

The study consisted of following 51 patients admitted during the first wave of covid-19 at the Dr Emili Mira Centre, a centre specialising in the care of psychiatric and geriatric patients at the Hospital del Mar. The ACE model has been deployed to prevent the decline in functional and cognitive abilities as a result of the hospital stay between 30 and 80% of the patients have gone through. A team made up of geriatricians, specialist nurses, social workers, pharmacists and physiotherapists has been mobilised to carry out this task.

In addition to reducing the negative impact of hospitalisation, a lower mortality rate has been observed than in the group of patients of this age and a very low number of transfers to bigger hospitals. The main author of the study and associate physician of the Institute of Neuropsychiatry and Addictions of the Hospital del Mar, Gabriel Vallecillo, points out that the ACE "can be easily implemented within the daily clinical care of geriatric patients in covid-19 units".

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