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J Am Geriatr Soc. 1990 Apr;38(4):461-6.

The Senior Care Study. Does inpatient interdisciplinary geriatric assessment help the family caregivers of acutely ill older patients?

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Department of Medicine, Brown University Program in Medicine, Providence, Rhode Island.

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  • J Am Geriatr Soc 1990 Oct;38(10):1163.


Comprehensive geriatric assessment has emerged as an effective strategy for improving outcomes for frail older patients in the hospital setting. Attention, however, has not been given to determining whether this process has any effect on their family caregivers. As part of a randomized controlled clinical trial designed to test the efficacy of early interdisciplinary geriatric assessment for acutely ill hospitalized patients 75 years of age or older, their family caregivers were studied to determine if the process had a positive effect on caregivers' self-reported health and emotional well-being. One hundred forty-two caregivers were approximately evenly distributed between experimentals (n = 69) and controls (n = 73). By three months after the patients' hospitalization, experimental caregivers were more likely to report good general health (81% vs 63%, P = .049) than were controls. The positive effect persisted after statistical adjustment for confounding variables. Experimental caregivers were not significantly more likely to have good emotional health at follow-up than were controls (65% vs 58%, P = .43), even after statistical adjustment. Although the findings are modest, they suggest that the acute hospital setting may be an ideal place to develop interventions designed to enhance family caregivers' well-being during the early months following hospitalization. This may be particularly true when the interventions with caregivers are coupled with a geriatric assessment and care plan process.

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