NICHE: Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders

Troy Brown, RN


October 21, 2016

In This Article

Healthcare for the Aging

Nurses are leading efforts to improve healthcare for elderly patients (aged 65 years or older). Approximately one half of all hospitalized adults are elderly, and that percentage is expected to grow as more and more baby boomers reach retirement age.[1] By 2030, older adults will account for 20% of the population in the United States, or about 70 million people.[1]

Older adults are often frail and have multiple comorbidities. They frequently experience adverse outcomes during hospitalization, including functional decline, delirium, undernutrition, polypharmacy, and other iatrogenic events.[2] More than one quarter (27%) of elderly patients who experience an adverse event while hospitalized go on to have multiple related adverse events.[3] These adverse events often lead to higher costs, institutionalization, and even death.[4]

In addition, elderly patients often have little financial and social support, so discharge planning can be challenging.


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.