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Transformation of a Geriatric Department in China.

Transformation of a Geriatric Department in China.
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Dong B, Yue J, Cao L, Yang M, Ge N, Qiukui H, He L, Wang Y, Flaherty JH,


Dong B, Yue J, Cao L, Yang M, Ge N, Qiukui H, He L, Wang Y, Flaherty JH, (click to view)

Dong B, Yue J, Cao L, Yang M, Ge N, Qiukui H, He L, Wang Y, Flaherty JH,

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Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 2017 11 23() doi 10.1111/jgs.15217
Abstract

China has the world’s largest elderly population, and the oldest-old population, with a current disability rate greater than 50%, will triple in the next 35 years. The field of geriatrics is young, because almost all geriatric departments were established after 2000, and so faces many challenges. Management of diseases and hospital care is the focus. Senior physicians were trained in other subspecialties, such as pulmonary or cardiology, and junior physicians entered geriatrics departments as masters or doctorate students after medical school. The inadequacy of post-acute and long-term care facilities has caused long hospital stays. There are no national systematic geriatric training programs, national board examinations, or qualifications in geriatrics. These challenges were used as a framework for guiding changes in the Department of Geriatrics at West China Hospital, Sichuan University. These changes have included international experiences and collaboration for physicians and nurses, revision of departmental conferences, and special training for a unique group of caregivers called hugong (untrained caregivers hired by families to be at the bedside of hospitalized individuals). The most significant yet challenging part of the transformation has been to develop and modify Western-based geriatric models of care (e.g., Acute Care of the Elderly unit, delirium prevention and management models, palliative care). Lastly, the department established Tianxia (in the sky) Doctors, an internet-based platform to connect the department’s interdisciplinary team to other hospitals, nursing institutions, home-based care service stations, community health service centers, and pharmacies throughout the region.

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