Evaluation and establishment of a ward-based geriatric liaison service for older urological surgical patients: Proactive care of Older People undergoing Surgery (POPS)-Urology

Philip Braude, Anna Goodman, Tania Elias, Gordana Babic-Illman, Ben Challacombe, Danielle Harari, Jugdeep K Dhesi
BJU International 2017, 120 (1): 123-129

OBJECTIVE: To assess the impact of introducing and embedding a structured geriatric liaison service, Proactive care of Older People undergoing Surgery (POPS)-Urology, using comprehensive geriatric assessment methodology, on an inpatient urology ward.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: A phased quality improvement project was undertaken using stepwise interventions. Phase 1 was a before-and-after study with initiation of a daily board round, weekly multidisciplinary meeting, and targeted geriatrician-led ward rounds for elective and emergency urology patients aged ≥65 years admitted over two 1-month periods. Outcomes were recorded from medical records and discharge documentation, including length of inpatient stay, medical and surgical complications, and 30-day readmission and mortality rates. Phase 2 was a quality improvement project involving Plan-Do-Study-Act cycles and qualitative staff surveys in order to create a Geriatric Surgical Checklist (GSCL) to standardize the intervention in Phase 1, improve equity of care by extending it to all ages, improve team-working and streamline handovers for multidisciplinary staff.

RESULTS: Phase 1 included 112 patients in the control month and 130 in the intervention month. The length of inpatient stay was reduced by 19% (mean 4.9 vs 4.0 days; P = 0.01), total postoperative complications were lower (risk ratio 0.24 [95% confidence interval 0.10, 0.54]; P = 0.001). A non-significant trend was seen towards fewer cancellations of surgery (10 vs 5%; P = 0.12) and 30-day readmissions (8 vs 3%; P = 0.07). In Phase 2, the GSCL was created and incrementally improved. Questionnaires repeated at intervals showed that the GSCL helped staff to understand their role better in multidisciplinary meetings, improved their confidence to raise issues, reduced duplication of handovers and standardized identification of geriatric issues. Equity of care was improved by providing the intervention to patients of all ages, despite which the time taken for the daily board round did not lengthen.

CONCLUSION: This is the first known paper describing the benefits of daily proactive geriatric intervention in elective and emergency urological surgery. The results suggest that using a multidisciplinary team board round helps to facilitate collaborative working between surgical and geriatric medicine teams. The GSCL enables systematic identification of patients who require a focused comprehensive geriatric assessment. There is potential to transfer the GSCL package to other surgical specialties and hospitals to improve postoperative outcomes.

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