Items in AFP with MESH term: Frail Elderly

Geriatric Failure to Thrive - Article

ABSTRACT: In elderly patients, failure to thrive describes a state of decline that is multifactorial and may be caused by chronic concurrent diseases and functional impairments. Manifestations of this condition include weight loss, decreased appetite, poor nutrition, and inactivity. Four syndromes are prevalent and predictive of adverse outcomes in patients with failure to thrive: impaired physical function, malnutrition, depression, and cognitive impairment. Initial assessments should include information on physical and psychologic health, functional ability, socioenvironmental factors, and nutrition. Laboratory and radiologic evaluations initially are limited to a complete blood count, chemistry panel, thyroid-stimulating hormone level, urinalysis, and other studies that are appropriate for an individual patient. A medication review should ensure that side effects or drug interactions are not a contributing factor to failure to thrive. The impact of existing chronic diseases should be assessed. Interventions should be directed toward easily treatable causes of failure to thrive, with the goal of maintaining or improving overall functional status. Physicians should recognize the diagnosis of failure to thrive as a key decision point in the care of an elderly person. The diagnosis should prompt discussion of end-of-life care options to prevent needless interventions that may prolong suffering.


Pneumonia in Older Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities - Article

ABSTRACT: Compared with community-dwelling persons, residents in long-term care facilities have more functional disabilities and underlying medical illnesses and are at increased risk of acquiring infectious diseases. Pneumonia is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in this group. Risk factors include unwitnessed aspiration, sedative medication, and comorbidity. Recognition may be delayed because, in this population, pneumonia often presents without fever, cough, or dyspnea. Accurate identification of the etiologic agent is hampered because most patients cannot produce a suitable sputum specimen. It is difficult to distinguish colonization from infection. Colonization by Staphylococcus aureus and gram-negative organisms can result from aspiration of oral or gastric contents, which could lead to pneumonia. Aspiration of gastric contents also can produce aspiration pneumonitis. This condition is not infectious initially and may resolve without antibiotics. Antibiotics for the treatment of pneumonia should cover Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, gram-negative rods, and S. aureus. Acceptable choices include quinolones or an extended-spectrum beta-lactam plus a macrolide. Treatment should last 10 to 14 days. Pneumonia is associated with significant mortality for up to two years. Dementia is related independently to the death rate within the first week after pneumonia, regardless of treatment. Prevention strategies include vaccination against S. pneumoniae and influenza on admission to the care facility. This article focuses on recent recommendations for the recognition of respiratory symptoms and criteria for the designation of probable pneumonia, and provides a guide to hospitalization, antibiotic use, and prevention.


Prevention of Falls in Older Patients - Article

ABSTRACT: Falls are one of the most common geriatric syndromes threatening the independence of older persons. Between 30 and 40 percent of community-dwelling adults older than 65 years fall each year, and the rates are higher for nursing home residents. Falls are associated with increased morbidity, mortality, and nursing home placement. Most falls have multiple causes. Risk factors for falls include muscle weakness, a history of falls, use of four or more prescription medications, use of an assistive device, arthritis, depression, age older than 80 years, and impairments in gait, balance, cognition, vision, and activities of daily living. Physicians caring for older patients should ask about any falls that have occurred in the past year. Assessment should include evaluating the circumstances of the fall and a complete history and physical examination, looking for potential risk factors. The most effective fall prevention strategies are multifactorial interventions targeting identified risk factors, exercises for muscle strengthening combined with balance training, and withdrawal of psychotropic medication. Home hazard assessment and modification by a health professional also is helpful.


Nursing Home Care: Part II. Clinical Aspects - Article

ABSTRACT: Understanding the distinctions between the management of clinical problems in nursing homes compared with the community setting helps improve the overall care of nursing home residents. Liberalizing diets helps avoid unintentional weight loss in nursing home residents, although the use of feeding tubes usually does not improve nutrition or decrease aspiration risk. Medical assessment, treatment of comorbidities, and appropriate use of rehabilitation therapies minimize the frequency of falls. Toileting programs may be used to treat incontinence and retention in cooperative patients. Adverse effects and drug interactions should be considered when initiating pharmacologic treatment of overactive bladder. Urinary tract infection and pneumonia are the most common bacterial infections in nursing home residents. Signs and symptoms of infection include fever or hypothermia, and functional decline. Virus identification is recommended for influenza-like illnesses. Nonpharmacologic behavioral management strategies are the preferred treatment for dementia-related problem behaviors. The Beers criteria, which outline potentially inappropriate medication use in older persons, provide guidance for medication use in the nursing home.


Caring for Older Patients Who Have Significant Hearing Loss - Curbside Consultation


Prevention of Falls in Community-Dwelling Older Adults: Recommendation Statement - U.S. Preventive Services Task Force



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