AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine

View all recommendations from this society

Released March 20,2015

Don’t recommend aggressive or hospital-level care for a frail elder without a clear understanding of the individual’s goals of care and the possible benefits and burdens.

Hospital-level care has known risks, including delirium, infections, side effects of medications and treatments, disturbance of sleep, and loss of mobility and function. These risks are often more significant for patients in the PA/LTC setting, who are more likely to be frail and to have multimorbidity, functional limitations and dementia. Therefore, for some frail elders, the balance of benefits and harms of hospital-level care may be unfavorable.  To avoid unnecessary hospitalizations, care providers should engage in advance care planning by defining goals of care for the patient and discussing the risks and benefits of various interventions, including hospitalization, in the context of prognosis, preferences, indications, and the balance of risks and benefits. Advance directives such as the Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (POLST) paradigm form and Do Not Hospitalize (DNH) orders communicate a patient’s preferences about end-of-life care. Patients with DNH orders are less likely to be hospitalized than those who do not have these directives. Patients who opt for less-aggressive treatment options are less likely to be subjected to unnecessary, unpleasant and invasive interventions and the risks of hospitalization.


These items are provided solely for informational purposes and are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. Patients with any specific questions about the items on this list or their individual situation should consult their physician.

How The List Was Created

1–5: AMDA – The Society for Post -Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine convened a work group made up of members from the Clinical Practice Committee (CPC). Members of the CPC include board certified geriatricians, certified medical directors, multi-facility medical directors, attending practitioners, physicians practicing in both office-based and nursing facility practice, physicians in rural, suburban and academic settings, those with university appointments, and more. It was important to AMDA that the workgroup chosen represent the core base of the AMDA membership. Ideas for the “five things” were solicited from the workgroup. Suggested elements were considered for appropriateness, relevance to the core of the specialty and opportunities to improve patient care. They were further refined to maximize impact and eliminate overlap, and then ranked in order of potential importance both for the specialty and for the public. A literature search was conducted to provide supporting evidence or refute the activities. The list was modified and a second round of selection of the refined list was sent to the workgroup for paring down to the final “top five” list. Finally, the work group chose its top five recommendations before submitting a final draft to the AMDA Executive Committee, which were then approved.

6–10: The AMDA Choosing Wisely® endeavor utilized a similar procedure as published in JAMA Intern Med. 2014;174 (40:509-515 – A Top 5 List for Emergency Medicine for our five items.

The AMDA Clinical Practice Committee acted as the Technical Expert Panel (TEP).

Phase 1 – The Clinical Practice Committee (CPC) along with the Infection Advisory Committee clinicians brainstormed an initial list of low-value clinical decisions that are under control of PA/LTC physicians that were thought to have a potential for cost savings.

Phase 2 – Each member of the CPC selected five low-value tests considering the perceived contribution to cost (how commonly the item is ordered and the individual expense of the test/treatment/action), benefit of the item (scientific evidence to support use of the item in the literature or in guidelines); and highly actionable (use decided by PA/LTC clinicians only).

Phase 3 – A survey was sent to all AMDA members. Statements were phrased as specific overuse statements by using the word “don’t,” thereby reflecting the action necessary to improve the value of care.

Phase 4 – CPC members reviewed survey results and chose the five items.

AMDA’s disclosure and conflict of interest policy can be found at www.amda.com.

Sources

Creditor MC. Hazards of hospitalization of the elderly. Ann Intern Med. 1993 Feb 1;118(3):219.

Deciding About Going to the Hospital. Interact v4.0 Tool. Florida Atlantic University; 2011 [cited 2015 Jan 2]. Available from:  http://interact2.net/docs/INTERACT%20Version%204.0%20Tools/INTERACT%20V%204%20Deciding_About_Going_to_Hosptial%20Nov%2017%202014.pdf.

Inouye SK, Westendorp RG, Saczynski JS. Delirium in elderly people. Lancet. 2014 Mar 8;383(9920):911-22.

Murray LM, Laditka SB. Care transitions in older adults from nursing homes to hospitals: implications for long-term care practice, geriatrics education, and research. J Am Med Dir Assoc.  2010 May;11(4):231-8.

Tulsky JA. Beyond advance directives: importance of communication skills at the end of life. JAMA. 2005 Jul 20;294(3):359-65.