By Jonathan Springston, Editor, Relias Media

A broad coalition has introduced an expansive new program designed to help healthcare professionals improve surgical care and outcomes for older patients.

The Coalition for Quality in Geriatric Surgery, led by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) in partnership with more than 50 other organizations, unveiled the Geriatric Surgery Verification (GSV) program. It includes 30 new surgical standards designed to improve surgical outcomes and care quality for older patients.

“Given the distinct care requirements for this growing population of older adults, we saw a clear need to identify the most important aspects of their surgical care and to create a new program that will help hospitals consistently provide efficient, high-quality surgical care to older adults that still prioritizes each individual’s unique treatment needs and goals,” Clifford Y. Ko, MD, MS, MSHS, FACS, director of the ACS Division of Research and Optimal Patient Care, said in a statement.

From a set of more than 300 preliminary standards, the coalition thoroughly analyzed and tested these ideas, narrowing the list to 33 and pilot-testing those in eight U.S. hospitals. Following those pilot tests, the coalition narrowed the list again to the final 30 standards, which include screening for cognitive, nutrition, and mobility decline; ensuring proper staffing; and improving communication.

“Through our collaborative development of this program … we believe we’ve captured the most important considerations for creating standards that truly have the potential to systemically advance surgical care for older adults,” Ronnie A. Rosenthal, MD, MS, FACS, chair of the ACS Geriatric Surgery Task Force, said in a statement. “In piloting the standards, we were pleased to see feedback from participating hospitals who noted that their implementation of the GSV Program would help standardize care for their older adult patients across all departments and positively impact all surgical subspecialties.”

In the upcoming September issue of ED Management, author Dorothy Brooks will detail much more about this program. Her story will include interviews with top officials at Hartford Hospital, where parts of this program have been tested and instituted. Leaders there will report about outcomes they have observed so far.