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October 26, 2011

Can Hospitalization-Associated Disability Be Prevented?

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Division of Geriatric Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School and the UMass Memorial Medical Center, Worcester.

JAMA. 2011;306(16):1800-1801. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1563

Each year, nearly 1 million older adults are hospitalized in the United States for treatment of an acute illness. Although many hospitalizations are necessary and lead to improvement, iatrogenic complications are common. All too frequently, older patients develop infections, pressure ulcers, delirium, adverse effects from treatment, and falls resulting in injury, among other complications. According to a report by the Office of the Inspector General, 7.4% of Medicare beneficiaries who were hospitalized in 2008 experienced a preventable adverse event.1 To improve the quality and safety of hospital care, Congress has enacted several broad programs that mandate reporting of quality, safety, patient experience, and adverse events and that provide financial incentives to improve performance.