Geriatric Medicine at UF Health Shands Hospital Ranked Among Nation’s Best

stockphoto of medical doctor and patient discussion

UF Health Shands is just one of 152 hospitals nationally of the 4,658 hospitals evaluated to be rated in at least one adult specialty by U.S. News. Along with geriatric medicine, the hospital ranked in the top 50 among five other specialties.

And for the third year in a row, UF Health Shands ranked in more adult and pediatric specialties than any other hospital in Florida — a total of 12 in 2017-18 surveys.

Marco Pahor, M.D., director of the UF Health Institute on Aging, said the U.S. News ranking is a result of the dedication and hard work of faculty and staff to provide excellent health care for patients.

“It’s really a testament to our team approach, ranging from graduate and clinical education, research and clinical practice,” Pahor said. “This is national recognition that our comprehensive approach to geriatric medicine works and is making a difference in the lives of our patients.”

Other UF Health Shands specialties ranked by U.S. News are diabetes and endocrinology (tied for 31st), gynecology (35th), neurology and neurosurgery (36th) and pulmonology (tied for 34th). Four specialties, cancer, gastroenterology & GI surgery, orthopedics and urology, were rated as “high performing.”

U.S. News also evaluated treatment involving “common procedures and conditions” at UF Health and rated five as “high performing.” Those are abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, colon cancer surgery, heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer surgery.

The specialty rankings are based on 2,600 metrics centered around patient safety and survival; resources related to patient care, which include the hospital’s volume of patients and nurse staffing; and the hospital’s reputation among specialists for developing and sustaining the delivery of high-quality care for patients with the most-challenging conditions or who need difficult procedures.

“We are honored U.S. News has once again recognized the high-quality care and commitment that the UF Health Shands team provides to its patients,” said David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice president for health affairs at UF and president of UF Health. “These rankings are a result of the skill, hard work and unwavering dedication of the faculty, staff and students who collaborate every day to ensure patients receive the high level of care and attention they have come to expect from us.”

UF Health’s geriatric medicine program at UF Health Shands Hospital has greatly expanded under Laurence Solberg, M.D., the division chief since 2013. “Our goal is to maintain the functional abilities and independence for these older people through innovative models of care,” he said.

One example is a new “acute care for the elderly,” or ACE, program recently launched at the hospital that is expected to reduce hospital stays and readmissions, lower health care costs while improving health outcomes for elderly patients.

The ACE team, composed of a geriatrician, a geriatrics nurse educator, a clinical nurse, a clinical pharmacist, a rehabilitation therapist for physical and occupational therapies, and a case manager, makes its rounds on a seventh-floor unit of the hospital.

While that floor houses adult patients of all ages, the team’s work focuses exclusively on those at least 70 years old. The ACE team communicates with hospital staffers on the floor and makes recommendations on their patients’ care.

“We are dedicated to building a novel comprehensive care model for our older patients, in which we provide specialized care for them in the clinic, the hospital, and in the skilled nursing facility,” Solberg said. The division also has expanded into community skilled nursing facilities, allowing UF Health Senior Care to provide continuity of care from the hospital, to the rehabilitation center and then to home with follow up visits at the Senior Care clinic.

That is part of Pahor’s goal of providing comprehensive care for older adults and continuing research on the science of aging.