Multidisciplinary approach to long-term care improves quality of care and mortality, study finds

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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 a new study. The investigators noted that the study's results could apply to seniors living in nursing homes, their own homes and other residential care facilities, Medical News Today reported.

To study the effects of a multidisciplinary integrated model of care in nursing homes and other residential care facilities, 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 multidisciplinary 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.

"Compared with usual care, our model of multidisciplinary integrated care resulted in substantially higher quality of care for elderly people in residential care facilities," the authors wrote. “Functional ability, number of hospital admissions and health-related quality of life remained comparable between the two groups."

The study was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.