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Innovations

Summa Health System’s institute for Senior and Post acute care offers an integrated approach to senior healthcare that enhances quality, access and outcomes for this patient population. The institute supports innovative care delivery models contained in healthcare reform legislation, such as accountable care organizations and the medical home.

As one of the first such models implemented in a community teaching hospital setting, the Institute is already attracting national attention. Results demonstrate it represents a viable, cost-effective senior healthcare delivery system that has value for patients, physicians and the health system.

Positive Patient Outcomes

Summa Health System’s Institute for Senior and Post Acute Care integrates clinical care, community services, research and physician education to create seamless, evidence- and value-based care across the continuum for older adults and those with complex illnesses. Researchers have a body of evidence that demonstrates Summa’s nationally acclaimed model for care delivery optimizes outcomes for seniors at every level of care, allowing older adults to remain as independent as possible for as long as possible.

Risk-adjusted comparisons with national databases such as Premier, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, HealthGrades and Milliman consistently demonstrate the Institute delivers high quality care more cost-effectively.

Outcomes data show shorter lengths of stay, lower inpatient readmission rates, reduced emergency department utilization, decreased use of medications associated with a high risk of side effects for seniors and fewer post-discharge permanent nursing home placements compared with national statistics.

Additionally, professional satisfaction scores are higher among the acute and long-term care staff, as are patient and family satisfaction scores.

The Institute achieves these results through a comprehensive menu of services that address the unique needs of older adult patients at every stage, from pre-hospitalization, throughout their hospital stay, to post-discharge.

Focused Inpatient Care

The Institute had its initial roots in the Acute Care for Elders (ACE) Project which began in 1994 as one of the first major randomized health services trials conducted at Summa Health System. With the objective of helping patients maintain function, quality of life and independence during hospitalization, the ACE unit delivers inpatient care by means of an interdisciplinary team that includes a geriatrician, geriatric-certified advanced practice nurse, geriatric-certified pharmacist, dietitian, social worker, therapists and the patient’s primary nurse. Ongoing outcomes research from the ACE unit is the basis for evidence-based care within the Institute for Senior and Post Acute Care.

The Institute's ten geriatricians also collaborate with geriatric nurse practitioners to deliver inpatient geriatric medicine consultation services on other inpatient units. They provide more than 80 of these consultations each month. The consult service supports the Institute's goal of helping all seniors admitted to Summa Health System hospitals to maintain function and independence.

Community Based Care

Outside the hospital walls, the Institute’s outpatient geriatric assessment and management service refers seniors in the community to other Summa departments for specialized services such as a falls and balance program, psychological counseling and driving assessments. For frail elderly patients with chronic medical conditions who have difficulty getting to their doctor’s office, SummaCare’s Physician House Calls program coordinates house calls with Summa physicians.

The House Calls program enhances quality of care for patients by improving coordination of care, assists office-based primary care physicians in managing their medically complex patients and reduces inappropriate emergency department usage. The House Calls program also aligns patient and family members to other Summa Health System hospital services.

The Institute also partners with community-based services through the Area Agency on Aging 10B, Inc.
to ensure the medical and wellness needs of low income seniors are met before and after hospitalization.

S.A.G.E. (Summa Health System/Area Agency on Aging partnership for Geriatric Care Excellence) is an interdisciplinary collaboration between SummaCare (Summa Health System’s insurance company) and community health care services that help frail low income seniors living in the community receive appropriate assessment and intervention in areas such as nutrition and assistance with activities of daily living.

To help maximize quality of care for these seniors, the Institute’s Care Coordination Network coordinates patient management between the hospital and services provided by the Area Agency on Aging, skilled nursing facilities and emergency medical services.

The Institute offers a value-driven, comprehensive platform for Summa Health System to expand and grow as a nationally recognized, high quality service provider and innovator of ideas and products with commercial potential.

Summa Health System created an evidence-based model that can serve as a health system prototype for other communities across the country.