Donor-supported research is keeping older patients out of the hospital

Ed and Suzanne Howe

Being released from a hospital to the comforts of home is the goal of every patient and caregiver, but hospital readmissions are quite common, especially for the elderly. Readmissions create an increased health risk, greater financial burden and are often preventable.

A frequent cause for readmission in older adults is delirium, which is essentially acute confusion. It can be life-threatening and impacts one-year mortality rates. The Ed Howe Center for Healthcare Transformation, which is completely supported through philanthropy and part of Advocate Aurora Research Institute, is working to reduce cases of delirium and readmission rates.

The Bundled Hospital Elder Life Program, or HELP© and HELP in Home Care, adapted HELP© hospital protocols to the home care setting to prevent delirium and functional decline. In just a few short years, this transformational research has already been put into action and is reducing hospital readmissions, preventing delirium, and saving lives.

“The research involved changing the way team members practice, which is harder than it sounds. We were able to operationalize this protocol in the electronic health record and create an organizational infrastructure for Bundled HELP©,” shares Michelle Simpson, PhD, RN, director of the Ed Howe Center for Healthcare Transformation.

The program is a great example of collaboration between Dr. Simpson’s team, Jonny Macias, MD, the program medical director, and Mike Malone, MD, medical director of Aurora Senior Services and Aurora Health at Home. This collaborative research, made possible by generous donors, is truly making a difference.

“The purpose of research at Advocate Aurora Health is to improve patient health. Research results are translated into clinical care to help our patients and the HELP protocol is a great example. It’s a rewarding achievement for our researchers,” explained Nina Garlie, PhD, interim vice president of Advocate Aurora Research Institute.

You can support research that impacts the lives of people in our communities by making a gift here.