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San Diego Conference Aims To Improve Elder Care In Hospitals

Credit: Photo Credit: KootenaiUrgentCare via Compfight

More than 40 percent of patients who are hospitalized are 65 and older.

Aired 4/8/14 on KPBS News.

An annual conference that focuses on improving hospital care for the elderly wraps up Tuesday in San Diego.

An annual conference that focuses on improving hospital care for the elderly wraps up Tuesday in San Diego.

The meeting involves more than a thousand nurses who are trying to step up their game.

More than 40 percent of people who are hospitalized are 65 and older. Nurses provide the majority of their care.

The conference, run by the nonprofit group NICHE, aims to update nurses on the latest evidence-based practices that produce better outcomes.

Judith Pfeiffer, director of nursing education at the UC San Diego Health System, said many elderly patients have arthritis and other conditions that complicate their daily life.

"And then once they get into the hospital," she explained, "it’s not only taking care of that heart issue, but those other chronic diseases they have."

Pfeiffer said there just aren’t enough geriatric specialists to go around. That’s why it’s important to give nurses special training to help improve senior care.

Every day, an estimated 10,000 Americans turn 65. By the year 2030, nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population will be 65 and older.

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