Using assessing care of vulnerable elders quality indicators to measure quality of hospital care for vulnerable elders

Vineet M. Arora, Martha Johnson, Jared Olson, Paula M. Podrazik, Stacie Levine, Catherine E. DuBeau, Greg A. Sachs, David O. Meltzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

68 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: To assess the quality of care for hospitalized vulnerable elders using measures based on Assessing Care of Vulnerable Elders (ACOVE) quality indicators (QIs). DESIGN: Prospective cohort study. SETTING: Single academic medical center. PARTICIPANTS: Subjects aged 65 and older hospitalized on the University of Chicago general medicine inpatient service who were defined as vulnerable using the Vulnerable Elder Survey-13 (VES-13), a validated tool based on age, self-reported health, and functional status. MEASUREMENTS: Inpatient interview and chart review using ACOVE-based process-of-care measures referring to 16 QIs in general hospital care and geriatric-prevalent conditions (e.g., pressure ulcers, dementia, and delirium); adherence rates calculated for type of care process (screening, diagnosis, and treatment) and type of provider (doctor, nurse). RESULTS: Six hundred of 845 (71%) older patients participated. Of these, 349 (58%) were deemed vulnerable based on VES-13 score. Three hundred twenty-eight (94%) charts were available for review. QIs for general medical care were met at a significantly higher rate than for pressure ulcer care (81.5%, 95% confidence interval (CI)=79.3-83.7% vs 75.8%, 95% CI=70.5-81.1%, P=.04) and for delirium and dementia care (81.5%, 95% CI=79.3-83.7 vs 31.4% 95% CI=27.5-35.2%, P<.01). According to standard nursing assessment forms, nurses were responsible for high rates of adherence to certain screening indicators (pain, nutrition, functional status, pressure ulcer risk; P<.001 when compared with physicians), although in patients with functional limitations, nurse admission assessments of functional limitations often did not agree with reports of limitations by patients on admission. CONCLUSION: Adherence to geriatric-specific QIs is lower than adherence to general hospital care QIs. Hospital care QIs that focus on screening may overestimate performance by detecting standard nursing or protocol-driven care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1705-1711
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Frail elders
  • Hospitalization
  • Quality indicators

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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