Do We Want to Measure the Quality of Care for Vulnerable Older People? The ACOVE Approach

Neil S. Wenger, University of California, Los Angeles

Policy brief no. 38


There’s limited information available about measuring the quality of medical care that is targeted to the needs of older patients. And there’s very limited pressure on the system to provide high quality geriatric care. Why is that? Because the quality measures haven’t been adequately developed and implemented, and it’s more difficult to measure care for an older sample. Measuring medical care for ill older adults is complex, because they tend to have multiple medical conditions, and they demonstrate substantial variation in goals for care (Wenger and colleagues 2007). How do we measure the quality of care a patient receives? Do we have the tools needed to evaluate it? And if we have the capability, are we willing to go to the effort to measure the patient’s care, even if it requires an extra effort to venture out from under the streetlamp, into “darker” and less explored sources of information?