New Research Agenda Provides Roadmap to Improve Care for Hospitalized Older Adults

To help support hospitalists in providing acute inpatient geriatric care, the Society of Hospital Medicine has developed a research agenda to identify questions that deserve the highest priority in directing future research efforts to improve care for older hospitalized patients. In their paper, Heidi Wald, MD, MSPH, of the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and her colleagues describe this agenda and outline 10 unanswered questions in the following broad topic areas: advanced care planning, care transitions, delirium, dementia, depression, medications, models of care, physical function, surgery, and training.

“Research agendas are typically defined by researchers who review the scientific literature and try to identify gaps and new directions based on what is already known and their understanding of the field. In contrast, we engaged patients, family caregivers, patient advocates, and a wide variety of providers of care to determine the research agenda through a rigorous and transparent process of convening, consulting, collating, and prioritizing to arrive at the final agenda,” explained Dr. Wald.

She noted that the research agenda can be used by hospitalist researchers, other scientists, and funders to guide decisions about what areas of investigation will yield information most valuable to older patients, their family caregivers, and their providers during periods of acute illness requiring hospitalization. The authors anticipate that by demonstrating the use of a patient-centered approach to research agenda-setting, others will be encouraged to use this methodology in setting research priorities in additional areas of medicine.

The work was funded by a grant from the Association of Specialty Professors.

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Full citation: Wald H, Leykum L, Mattison M, Vasilevskis E, Meltzer D; A Patient-Centered Research Agenda for the Care of the Acutely Ill Older Patient; Journal of Hospital Medicine, 2015, DOI: 10.1002/jhm.2356

About the Author:
To arrange an interview with the author, please contact Heidi Wald, MD, MSPH, is an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. To arrange an interview with Dr. Wald please contact Laura Parker at [email protected] or Mark Couch at [email protected]

About the Journal:
The Journal of Hospital Medicine is the premier, ISI indexed publication for the specialty of hospital medicine and official journal of the Society of Hospital Medicine. The Journal advances excellence in hospital medicine as a defined specialty through the dissemination of research, evidence-based clinical care, and advocacy of safe, effective care for hospitalized patients. For more information, please visit

About the Society of Hospital Medicine:
Representing the fastest growing specialty in modern healthcare, the Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM) is the leading medical society for more than 31,000 hospitalists and their patients. SHM is dedicated to promoting the highest quality care for all hospitalized patients and overall excellence in the practice of hospital medicine through quality improvement, education, advocacy and research. Over the past decade, studies have shown that hospitalists decrease patient lengths of stay, reduce hospital costs and readmission rates and increasing patient satisfaction.

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