The American Geriatrics Society and the American College of Surgeons (ACS) have joined forces to create new surgery guidelines for elderly patients, published in the October issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. The joint project, the culmination of two years of multidisciplinary research, is designed to improve quality of care for the elderly, both before and after surgery, said Clifford Y. Ko, MD, director of the ACS National Surgical Quality Improvement Program in an article.
The guide, “Optimal Preoperative Assessment of the Geriatric Surgical Patient: A Best Practices Guideline from the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program and the American Geriatrics Society,” was developed to emphasize the importance of a team approach to elder surgery and to provide the basis for metrics that can be used in performance measures.
The guide focuses on 13 key factors than affect surgical success and risk in elderly patients, including cognitive impairment, alcohol or substance abuse, mobility, falls risks and family support systems. One of the biggest problems with elderly surgery patients is the impact of multiple medications, since pre-operative and post-operative medications may interact with the long list of medications the patient is already taking, the guide notes.