Two European Examples of Acute Geriatric Units Located Outside of a General Hospital for Older Adults With Exacerbated Chronic Conditions

AGCH-Study Group

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Objective: Throughout Europe, the number of older adults requiring acute hospitalization is increasing. Admission to an acute geriatric unit outside of a general hospital could be an alternative. In this model of acute medical care, comprehensive geriatric assessment and rehabilitation are provided to selected older patients. This study aims to compare patients' diagnoses, characteristics, and outcomes of 2 European sites where this care occurs. Design: Exploratory cohort study. Setting and participants: Subacute Care Unit (SCU), introduced in 2012 in Barcelona, Spain, and the Acute Geriatric Community Hospital (AGCH), introduced in 2018 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The main admission criteria for older patients were acute events or exacerbations of chronic conditions, hemodynamic stability on admission, and no requirement for complex diagnostics. Measures: We compared setting, characteristics, and outcomes between patients admitted to the 2 units. Results: Data from 909 patients admitted to SCU and 174 to AGCH were available. Patients were admitted from the emergency department or from home. The mean age was 85.8 years [standard deviation (SD) = 6.7] at SCU and 81.9 years (SD = 8.5) (P < .001) at AGCH. At SCU, patients were more often delirious (38.7% vs 22.4%, P < .001) on admission. At both units, infection was the main admission diagnosis. Other diagnoses included heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Five percent or less of patients were readmitted to general hospitals. Average length of stay was 8.8 (SD = 4.4) days (SCU) and 9.9 (SD = 7.5) days (AGCH). Conclusions and Implications: These acute geriatric units are quite similar and both provide an alternative to admission to a general hospital. We encourage the comparison of these units to other examples in Europe and suggest multicentric studies comparing their performance to usual hospital care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1228-1234
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Medical Directors Association
Issue number6
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Geriatrics
  • acute care
  • model of care
  • post-acute care

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