Date of Award


Document Type

Independent Study

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Do hospitalized geriatric patients have better outcomes such as increased patient satisfaction, decreased length of stay, and decreased readmission rates with specialized interdisciplinary care, as on Acute Care of Elders (ACE) units, versus usual care? This is one question that this paper will address. The goal in this type of care is to achieve medical stability while preserving maximum functioning. Collaboration with all health care specialties is crucial to geriatric care . Secondarily, the gap in nursing knowledge of the elderly patient's care needs has to be addressed. Thirdly, patient's psychosocial needs should be addressed in order to promote their independence and assist in their return to their previous environment. The purpose of this independent project is to research these three topics and find ways to provide high quality specialized care to elderly patients. Interdisciplinary care of elderly patients will be shown to decrease hospital complications. Quantitative studies, qualitative studies, literature reviews, secondary analyses and case studies were used. They were critiqued on sample size, randomization, type of study, validity and reliability of instruments used and findings. The studies show that interdisciplinary care of the elderly, geriatrics management and geriatrics consultation reduce negative outcomes in hospitalized patients. The studies further show that gaps exist in nursing knowledge of guariatrics and decrease the effectiveness of nursing care. Programs such as Nurses Improving Care for Health System Elders (NICHE) provide ongoing specialized geriatric training to hospital nurses and certified nursing assistants (CNA's) caring for elderly patients and are shown to improve the quality of geriatric care. Furthermore, studies show, that dignity, respect, participation in care and relationships help to meet the psychosocial needs of elderly patients. Youth and adult volunteer programs are shown to benefit hospitalized elders in meeting these psychosocial needs. For optimum care of the hospitalized elderly, interdisciplinary care should be standard practice. Nurses need to be supported in increasing their knowledge of geriatric patients and their complex needs. Volunteer programs are imperative in meeting the psychosocial needs of hospitalized elders and contributing to their ability to return to their homes and communities.