Deerbrook Grant Initiatives
Older adult patients face many more concerns when entering the hospital than a typical patient. They often have multiple chronic conditions (such as urinary tract infections and pressure ulcers), while also trying to manage heart failure, treat pneumonia and prevent occurrence of delirium. In addition, geriatric patients often access care at several levels and receive complex treatment plans from multiple providers. These frequent health care encounters may confuse the patient's interpretation of his or her treatment plan and may result the patient providing incomplete or incorrect information to another caregiver. To help elderly patients and to deter the onset of delirium, a stage of confusion often seen in hospitalized geriatric patients, nursing staff is developing best practices and partnerships so older community members are not caught in the unfortunate cycle of readmissions, which is disruptive to recovery. Baylor Scott & White recognized the need for improved geriatric care and sought opportunities to learn.
In 2012, Deerbrook Charitable Trust of Chevy Chase, MD, pledged more than $12.4 million over a three-year period to improve care for geriatric patients in hospitals, nursing homes and in their own homes. This initiative helps hospital caregivers meet the increasing need to enhance care for a rapidly growing elderly population by working through five strategies.
- Creating specialized geriatric nursing education programs
- Refining a comprehensive volunteer program for hospitalized older patients
- Developing education and best practice partnerships with skilled nursing facilities
- Bringing together a consortium of geriatric experts from regional universities
- Assessing risk for chronically ill patients to refine a transitional care model the will reduce hospital readmissions and emergency room visits
The findings from these initiatives will be presented in research publications which could lead to improved care for geriatric patients. Baylor Scott & White will freely share best practices, educational programs and teaching tools with nursing schools, health care organizations and virtual learning centers throughout the country.
Alzheimer's and Dementia Care
Providing memory care is becoming increasingly difficult. Between one-third and one-half of all people with dementia live in costly residential or nursing home facilities. The lack of outpatient services for dementia patients derives from a national focus on research rather than patient care. The number of specialty-trained physicians in dementia is small, with clusters located in academic institutions and the Veterans Administration where there is salary support and insulation from Medicare reimbursement cuts. There are more than 5 million people in the United States with diagnosed Alzheimer's disease, and the supply/demand curve for physicians in private practice is daunting.
Despite these challenges, Baylor Scott & White is dedicated to meeting the need for elderly care by planning Alzheimer's and dementia care programs for both individuals of these diseases and their caregivers that provide educate on prevention, detection and treatment of this disease. Baylor Neuroscience Center's Memory Center opened in July 2011 and serves as a comprehensive neuroscience program diagnosing and treating all forms of cognitive dysfunction and dementia for patients referred from across the health care system. The memory center medical team uses medications and other therapies to help patients improve his/her participation in activities of daily living, behavior and cognition. They work closely with the Dallas chapter of the Alzheimer's Association to ensure caregiver support is available, in addition to resources on respite care, psychotherapy and local day programs. Pastoral care also provides chaplain support to conduct home follow up visits with patients.