News from the SUSTAIN sites: The Hietzing Hospital (Austria) and the ODIWA improvement plan

Discover more about the Hietzing-Hospital, its team and the Austrian improvement project for integrated care ODIWA (“The optimization of dementia diagnostics, integrated medical follow-up and awareness”)

Published: 5th June 2017

The Hietzing-Hospital is one of the largest hospitals in Vienna and with its history of 110 years it is also one of the oldest. It was founded in 1907 by the city of Vienna to counter the need of hospitals and to celebrate the 60-year reign of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria. Today, Hietzing is affiliated to one of the biggest hospital operators of Austria – The Vienna Hospital Association (KAV) – which is responsible for hospitals, geriatric centers and six training-institutions for general health care and nursing care in Vienna. Hietzing is well known for its characteristic location. The hospital is apportioned in several pavilions which are located on 10 ha park grounds.

Photos by Rüdiger Ettl, Hospital Hietzing

Photos by Rüdiger Ettl, Hospital Hietzing

In the I. Department for Internal Medicine, located in Pavillion 5, a dedicated team works around the chief physician Dr. Ludwig Kramer and chief nurse Gertrude Jandl, who brought SUSTAIN and the Austrian improvement project for integrated care ODIWA (“The optimization of dementia diagnostics, integrated medical follow-up and awareness”) to Hietzing-Hospital. The aim of ODIWA is to counter the considerable rate of underdiagnosed cases of dementia among older people, to raise the awareness among professionals and to foster a more integrated provision of care to patients and their relatives.

An inpatient suffering from dementia in its early stages already shows specific signs during his/her stay but these remain undetected due to other – more evident – reasons for admission (e.g. fall, injury, infarct…). Dementia is not only a life changing diagnosis for those affected but also has a great impact on those who give care. In order to improve the identification of people suffering from dementia and to provide treatment and help for those affected as well as their family members and carers, the Hospital Hietzing is cooperating with the Geronto-Psychiatric Centre (GPZ).

Photo by Eva Kelety, Team I. Department for Internal Medicine

Photo by Eva Kelety, Team I. Department for Internal Medicine

The Geronto-Psychiatric Centre for Psycho-Social Services is a unique ambulatory social-psychiatric institution. With its multi-professional team, the basic mission of the GPZ is to enable those afflicted with dementia to achieve the longest possible life in the familiar surroundings of their own homes. The Centre gives advice on organizing home assistance, visiting services and placements in geriatric day centers and day clinics.  Family members can get advice for relieving their burden and obtain information about dementia as a disease.

The cooperation between the Hietzing-Hospital and the Geronto-Psychiatric Centre particularly concerns the knowledge transfer between the two institutions, the sharing of resources as well as an improved case- and discharge management of hospitalized patients.

Besides gastroenterology and hepatology, another thematic priority of the hospital ward is the delirium management. Delirium can occur at any age, but it occurs more commonly in patients who are older and have a previously compromised mental status. The I. Department for Internal Medicine is considered as a model of good practice when it comes to delirium management. The Hospital Hietzing is organizing interdisciplinary workshops, holding lectures and welcoming visitors, who are interested in seeing their way of working.

Hietzing acknowledges the importance of providing adequate care for older people and their families through an integrated care approach. Especially chief nurse Gertrude Jandl is in favor of the project SUSTAIN-ODIWA.


Chief nurse Gertrude Jandl


“We really want to help patients and their families. During my work, I see how hard it is for family members when their loved ones (patients) can’t remember them anymore or seem scared and dismissive – due to a delirium for example. That really moves my heart and I realize, if there is no place they can turn to, we (the hospital ward) have to take health care in our own hands- And this is the reason why we joined SUSTAIN-ODIWA”