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Med Care. 1997 Jun;35(6 Suppl):JS4-20.

Boston Working Group on Improving Health Care Outcomes Through Geriatric Rehabilitation.

[No authors listed]


Geriatric rehabilitation is a multidisciplinary set of evaluative, diagnostic, and therapeutic interventions whose purpose is to restore functional ability or enhance residual functional capability in elderly people with disabling impairments. The Boston Working Group on Improving Health Care Outcomes Through Geriatric Rehabilitation was convened to begin a dialogue among experts in rehabilitation, quality of care, and health services research to consider ways to measure, improve, and ensure the quality of geriatric rehabilitation services. The conference centered around four major themes: the definition of disability/disablement; the patient's experience of rehabilitative care; the role of clinical practice guidelines; and the need for casemix and severity or risk-adjustment procedures and measures. The plenary speaker discussed potential new directions in each of these areas and reviewed the contribution of these innovations to improved means of outcomes assessment. Each of the four themes was addressed in the form of a paper by an expert in the field. Two reactors with different viewpoints responded to these papers, and small working groups of participants, convened by topic, contributed to discussions later summarized and presented in plenary session by a spokesperson for each group. In one small group, two reporters represented the majority and minority opinions. A summary speaker presented an overview of the conference deliberations and focused on four of the critical points raised by the working groups: (1) the need to define and describe geriatric rehabilitation in lay terms; (2) the need for more research to link process with outcome; (3) the need to balance long-term measurement of process and outcome with short-term analysis that facilitates creative response to accelerating changes in the health care sector; and (4) the need to convince a diverse audience of the role of geriatric rehabilitation in providing high quality care, good health status, and functional outcomes for older patients.

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