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J Am Board Fam Pract. 1997 Nov-Dec;10(6):398-406.

Senior Team Assessment and Referral Program--STAR.

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Department of Home Care, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, San Jose, California, USA.



Although comprehensive geriatric assessment has been found to improve health and function and decrease hospital admissions, most such programs are staff-intensive and take many hours or even days. The Senior Team Assessment and Referral Program (STAR) was developed to address these two issues by using a short but comprehensive outpatient health appraisal that required only a few health professionals to complete.


Six hundred forty-nine Kaiser Permanente health plan members aged 65 years or older who received their health care at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, San Jose, Calif, were randomly selected during the first 12 months of the study and invited by mail to participate in STAR. Of those members contacted, 326 agreed to join the study. A nurse practitioner evaluated the health, functional, and social status of each STAR participant at an office visit once each year for the next 3 years and provided case management for those participants found to be frail or in danger of becoming frail. A control group of 764 elderly (aged 65 years and older) Kaiser members with characteristics similar to those of the STAR participants was drawn from Kaiser Permanente health plan members in San Jose. They continued to receive usual medical care throughout the study. A medical-functional profile was developed to stratify each STAR participant's overall health and functional status at each visit and case management contact. The results were entered on a grid that was used as a tracking tool throughout the study. Utilization of medical services, changes in health and function, and effects of STAR interventions on participant health behaviors were measured, and primary care physician and participant satisfaction was assessed.


Although short-term utilization of medical services increased in the STAR group, health, function, and health behaviors improved as a result of STAR interventions. Ninety-three percent of the STAR participants described a satisfactory experience, and 71 percent were very satisfied. Sixty-five percent of primary care physicians who responded to a satisfaction questionnaire found something useful for their patients in the STAR assessment.


STAR offers an efficient, minimally staff-intensive model for evaluating the health, functional, and social status of the 65-year-old and older age-group and intervening when they are frail or at risk of becoming frail. The improved health, function, and healthy behaviors in STAR participants and the high satisfaction rates among participants and physicians suggest that STAR would be a useful addition to the health care environment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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