Minimum geriatric screening tools to detect common geriatric problems

T Pepersack
Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging 2008, 12 (5): 348-52

BACKGROUND: Health services for the elderly are becoming increasingly important in industrialized nations, and comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA) is one of the procedures designed to improve the health of this sector of the population. In 2003 a survey among Belgian geriatricians showed that despite the interest of the geriatric teams for comprehensive geriatric assessment, it was not used enough. Considering these results, as a first step, screening tools were proposed for the main geriatric domains (Minimum Geriatric Screening Tools, MGST).

OBJECTIVES: To assess the feasibility of a MGST within the teams of geriatric units and to evaluate the efficacy of a MGST on the detection rate of the geriatric problems of admitted subjects.

DESIGN: Prospective observational survey.

METHODS: The teams were first asked to encode active geriatric problems suspected according to their conventional assessment. Then, in a second phase, a complete MGST was completed by the same team within the first week after admission.

RESULTS: Three hundred and twenty six registrations from 33 centres were available. Mean (+/- SD) number of screened geriatric problems was 1.5 +/- 1.2 without MGST and 4.7 +/- 1.7 (p < 0.0001) using the MGST. Except for the assessment for the risk of falls, the MGST leads to a better screening for the seven other main geriatric domains (functional, continence, cognition, depression, nutrition, pain, social).

CONCLUSIONS: An improvement associated with the use of simple minimal geriatric tools to screen geriatric problems was evident. This approach has additional value for education and quality assurance.


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