Senior Health Clinic Outcome Study

In 2001, the Gerontology Institute received a $1.5 million grant from the John A. Hartford Foundation of New York to study the outcomes of a team approach versus a traditional approach when caring for older adults. The team comprised physicians, nurses, social workers, pharmacists, chaplains, dietitians, and other staff. The comparison was made against outcomes of older adults receiving health care the traditional way, via family practice and internal medicine, where a generally trained physician leads the care and refers out to relevant specialists.

Results of the five-year study suggest the following outcomes for patients involved in the team approach:

  • When risk-adjusted, our patients take fewer medications than traditional care patients
  • Despite decline in physical function over 30 months, our patients’ quality of life measures remain unchanged compared to traditional care comparison groups, where quality of life declines with physical function
  • Our patient population has a higher rate of immunizations for influenza and pneumovax than comparison group clinics
  • Rates of falls over time are less in our model compared to the other models, especially for the older female patient
  • Depression scores improve over time in our model, whereas scores worsened in the comparison groups
  • Average annual Medicare charges per participant for all services and inpatient hospital services are less in our group