Improving Quality of Care for Seniors
Quality of care is a top priority for the Senior Health team in the Division of Gerontology. We are always looking for ways to enhance patient care, minimize risk, and improve outcomes. Two initiatives underway include:
Because of the increased risk of fracture in older age, the outpatient geriatrics practice has made osteoporosis screening a high priority for quality improvement. This initiative has focused on the effects of patients who receive their calcium through their diet, those receiving calcium supplements, those adding Vitamin D, and those using medications for osteoporosis. Our goal is to increase our screening and assure that appropriate patients receive the correct follow up and treatment, including bone density screening.
Reduce Use of Benzodiazepines
Benzodiazepines (medications such as Ativan and Valium that have a sedating effect) are sometimes used for anxiety or sleeping problems, and can have side effects that are potentially harmful for elderly patients. These can increase the risk of falls and cognitive changes. As new patients enter the practice, our geriatricians recommend discontinuation or reduction in the dosages of these medications. A quality improvement initiative is underway to assure that this important factor is addressed with our patients as a part of maintaining well-being and clarity of thought as they age.