Research Reveals Geriatric Medicine Improves Survival Rates

Posted on: 25 July 2011

Findings from a major review of acute care for older people shows that hospital care by acute geriatric medicine improves an individual’s chance of staying alive and remaining in one’s own home by 25% compared to general medical care. 

Professor Desmond O’Neill, Associate Professor of Geriatric Medicine at Trinity College Dublin who is based at the Adelaide and Meath Hospital, Dublin Incorporating the National Children’s Hospital, worked on the review with Trinity College researcher, Dr David Robinson in conjunction with researchers in Scotland.  The Cochrane Review of acute care for older people explored the evidence for and against the effectiveness and appropriateness of treatments in specific circumstances.  The rigorous methodology applied brings together all randomised trials in world medical literature enabling independent high-quality evidence for health care decision makers.

A critical success factor for geriatric medical care is that patients are treated in a geriatric medicine unit with a multidisciplinary team.  This highlighted the importance of gerontological nursing as the effect was not as pronounced in general wards.

Commenting on the review Professor Des O’Neill said: “In a world with rapidly ageing populations, this review shows that using advances in research in ageing can lead to safer and more effective care.  This research should prompt critical reflection by health services worldwide, and prompt further development of dedicated geriatric medicine units in all hospitals dealing with acute medical emergencies.  Due to the importance of the Cochrane Reviews, the HSE has purchased open access for Ireland to the Cochrane database so that those in the health services, and the general public, can access the findings.”