Friday, April 6, 2012

Departments collaborate to transform care for senior patients


GIFTS GROUP: From left, Reyes; Dennis Ausiello, MD, chief of the Department of Medicine; Harry Rubash, MD, chief of the Department of Orthopædic Surgery; Vrahas; Kathleen Burns, ACNP, Orthopædic Trauma Service; Kathleen Myers, MSN, RN, nursing director, White 6 and Ellison 6, Orthopædics; and Bauman


Two MGH departments have joined together to redesign the way care is offered to senior patients with bone fractures.

Members of the Departments of Medicine and Orthopædic Surgery have been working together since September through a new interdisciplinary service called Geriatric Inpatient Fracture Service (GIFTS), which helps care for patients 65 years and older who are hospitalized because of orthopædic injuries.  As part of the new program, physicians from the Geriatric Medicine Unit work closely with physicians from the Orthopædic Trauma Service – along with staff from Nursing, Anesthesia, Physical Therapy, and Nutrition and Food Services – to help patients avoid complications following surgery, address underlying medical needs, strengthen overall health and provide patient- and family-centered education. 

“This program aims to better manage patients who are admitted to the hospital with orthopædic injuries, such as hip fractures, but who often have additional medical issues as well,” says Suzanne Morrison, program director for the Partners Orthopædic Trauma Service, which works with the MGH Orthopædic Trauma Service.

“GIFTS allows us to provide the best possible care throughout hospitalization and during the rehabilitation process,” adds Shelley Amira, administrative director of the Geriatric Medicine Unit. 

Upon a patient’s arrival in the Emergency Department, one of two GIFTS physicians – Joel Bauman, MD, or Bernardo Reyes, MD – work with the Orthopædic Trauma Service to evaluate and determine the best course of treatment. Patients whose coexisting medical issues are determined to be secondary to their orthopædic injury are admitted to the Department of Orthopædics to be managed by the GIFTS team. Patients whose other medical conditions are more pressing or severe than their orthopædic injuries are admitted to the Department of Medicine with an orthopædic consult. They can then be transferred to the GIFTS team once their medical issues become less acute. 

“Along with more specialized care, the program also decreases wait time for surgery, reduces length of stay in the hospital for fracture care and improves geriatric-specific communication with families and receiving rehabilitation facilities,” says Ken Minaker, MD, chief of the Geriatric Medicine Unit.

Adds Mark Vrahas, MD, chief of the Partners Orthopædic Trauma Service, “Our goal is to restore the quality of life of our patients. This model allows patients to receive the right care at the right time from the right providers.”

For more information about GIFTS, contact Morrison at 617-643-3652 or

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