Geriatric Assessment

People age 65 years and older are a fast-growing segment of the world population. Most remain healthy even to their later years; for others, old age means living with multiple comorbidities, limited social and economic resources, and physical and mental disabilities. Preserving current functions in healthier seniors and identifying those at high risk for disability are major goals of comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA). To achieve these goals, the geriatric assessment team collects information on the mental, functional, social, and biological status of older persons.

The team then uses the information to plan and implement evidence-based interventions to promote healthy aging and independent living. CGA requires specialists in several disciplines. The CGA team members include (at a minimum) nurses, physicians, social workers, physical and occupational therapists, pharmacists, and dietitians. Members of the CGA team collect information in four major domains of healthy living: mental, functional, social, and biological.

These domains have the most impact on function and quality of life for old people. CGA findings guide decisions on need for rehabilitation, nursing home and hospice care, and ambulatory and inpatient services. Research shows that CGA-based evaluation and management of the elderly is associated with decreased functional decline in hospitalized elders, increased psychological well-being, and better pain management in outpatient settings.

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