Assuring the Quality of Health Care for Older Persons

An Expert Panel's Priorities

Published In: JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association, v. 258, no. 14, Oct. 9, 1987, p. 1905-1908

Posted on RAND.org on December 31, 1986

by Arlene Fink, Albert L. Siu, Robert H. Brook, Rolla Edward Park, David Solomon

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To select topics for quality assurance activities focusing on older patients, we convened a 14-member panel of physicians and experts in quality assurance. In two rounds of ratings, panelists rated 42 medical conditions (eg, pneumonia) in terms of their effects on patient outcomes, the availability of beneficial interventions, and the health benefits from improving current quality. They rated 27 health services (eg, adult day-care) on similar dimensions. The feasibility of doing quality assurance work on each condition and service also was rated. Using the ratings, the conditions selected for quality assurance work were congestive heart failure, hypertension, pneumonia, breast cancer, adverse effects of drugs, incontinence, and depression. Health care services selected were hospital discharge planning, acute inpatient care for the frail elderly, long-term-care facilities (intermediate-care facilities and skilled nursing facilities), home health care services, and case management.

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