Team approach improves care: study

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Seniors living in residential care facilities with an integrated, multidisciplinary approach to long-term care experienced a better quality of care and lower mortality rates than seniors living in traditional residential care facilities, according to new research.

The investigators said the findings could apply to seniors living in nursing homes, their own homes and other residential care facilities.

To study the effects of a multidisciplinary integrated model of care, Dutch researchers tested the model in 10 facilities near Amsterdam. All 340 patients in the study had cognitive or physical disabilities that required assistance with activities of daily living.

Under the multidisciplinary approach, a primary care physician oversaw each resident's care. The program included assessments of functional limitations every three months; discussion of priorities and outcomes with the family physician, patient and family members; and monthly meetings with the patient's healthcare team. Each patient received care from a nurse-assistant, a family physician, a psychologist and a geriatrician.

The study was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.