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BACKGROUND: In 2010, a national enquiry into elderly patient outcomes after surgery identified that only 36% received 'good' care. Guidance was subsequently published by the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland regarding perioperative care of the elderly and those with dementia; this study aims to assess current adherence to these guidelines in anaesthetic departments across Scotland. METHODS: A web-based survey was sent to all Scottish departments. The questions assessed department patient demographic, access to specialist pre-assessment services, availability of multidisciplinary input, perioperative care of patients with cognitive impairment and departmental training on geriatric perioperative care. RESULTS: Responses were collected from November-December 2020 with a 92.6% response rate. A total of 64% of departments stated that > 50% of their workload involved patients over 75. One department had a lead clinician for geriatric anaesthesia, whilst 20% could access a geriatric specialist when coordinating perioperative care. Specialist geriatric pre-assessment services operate in 20% of centres. A total of 60% of respondents used a clinical frailty score when pre-assessing patients over 75, with 48% specifically screening for cognitive impairment. The vast majority of centres, 76%, did not routinely provide information regarding post-operative delirium and 24% 'never or very rarely' invite caregivers to accompany patients with dementia into the department. Education sessions regarding perioperative elderly care had occurred in 56% of departments. CONCLUSIONS: Elderly patients represent a significant proportion of anaesthetic workload in Scotland. Despite this, adherence to recommended practice is low. The vast majority of centres lack access to specialist multidisciplinary input or specialist pre-assessment services which are essential to providing good care. Reported screening for frailty and cognitive impairment is variable, with opportunities for improvement in communication and education (patient and clinician) surrounding these conditions.
Clark, C., Bennett, E., & Foo, I. (2022). Adherence to published guidelines for perioperative care of the elderly: a survey of Scottish anaesthetic departments. Perioperative Medicine, 11(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13741-022-00258-z
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