, Volume 27, Issue 5, pp 561-567
Date: 03 Feb 2012

Enhancing Care for Hospitalized Older Adults with Cognitive Impairment: A Randomized Controlled Trial

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Abstract

Background

Approximately 40% of hospitalized older adults have cognitive impairment (CI) and are more prone to hospital-acquired complications. The Institute of Medicine suggests using health information technology to improve the overall safety and quality of the health care system.

Objective

Evaluate the efficacy of a clinical decision support system (CDSS) to improve the quality of care for hospitalized older adults with CI.

Design

A randomized controlled clinical trial.

Setting

A public hospital in Indianapolis.

Population

A total of 998 hospitalized older adults were screened for CI, and 424 patients (225 intervention, 199 control) with CI were enrolled in the trial with a mean age of 74.8, 59% African Americans, and 68% female.

Intervention

A CDSS alerts the physicians of the presence of CI, recommends early referral into a geriatric consult, and suggests discontinuation of the use of Foley catheterization, physical restraints, and anticholinergic drugs.

Measurements

Orders of a geriatric consult and discontinuation orders of Foley catheterization, physical restraints, or anticholinergic drugs.

Results

Using intent-to-treat analyses, there were no differences between the intervention and the control groups in geriatric consult orders (56% vs 49%, P = 0.21); discontinuation orders for Foley catheterization (61.7% vs 64.6%, P = 0.86); physical restraints (4.8% vs 0%, P = 0.86), or anticholinergic drugs (48.9% vs 31.2%, P = 0.11).

Conclusion

A simple screening program for CI followed by a CDSS did not change physician prescribing behaviors or improve the process of care for hospitalized older adults with CI.