(HealthDay)—An interdisciplinary care protocol for frail geriatric trauma patients significantly reduces the risk for delirium and 30-day readmission, according to a study published online April 5 in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.

Elizabeth A. Bryant, M.P.H., from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues evaluated whether an interdisciplinary care pathway for frail trauma (≥65 years) improved in-hospital mortality, complications, and 30-day readmissions. The interdisciplinary protocol included early ambulation, bowel/pain regimens, nonpharmacological delirium prevention, nutrition/ consults, and geriatrics assessments.

Based on the 125 and 144 in the preintervention and postintervention cohorts, the researchers observed no significant demographic differences in complications (P = 0.93). However, following the intervention, there was a significant decrease in delirium (21.6 to 12.5 percent; P = 0.04) and 30-day (9.6 to 2.7 percent; P = 0.01). Lower delirium (odds ratio, 0.44; P = 0.02) and 30-day readmission rates (odds ratio, 0.25; P = 0.02) were seen postintervention compared with prepathway patients, even after adjusting for patient characteristics.

"Implementing pathways standardizing care for these vulnerable patients could improve their outcomes following trauma," the authors write.