Background: Failing to assess elderly patients for functional decline at the time around a minor injury may result in adverse health outcomes. This study was conducted to define what constitutes clinically significant functional decline and the sensitivity required for a clinical decision instrument to identify such functional decline after an injury in previously independent elderly patients. Methods: After a thorough development process, a survey questionnaire was administered to a random sample of 178 family physicians. The surveys were distributed using a modified Dillman technique. Results: From 143 eligible surveys, we received 67 completed surveys (response rate, 46.9 %). Respondents indicated that a drop of at least 3 points on the 28-point Older Americans Resources and Services (OARS) ADL Scale was considered clinically significant by 90 % of physicians. Ninety percent (90 %) of physicians would be satisfied with a sensitivity of 90 % or more for a clinical decision instrument to detect patients at risk of functional decline at 6 months following an injury. The majority of family physicians do not routinely assess the majority of the tasks on the OARS scale for injured elderly patients. Conclusions: A high proportion of physicians (90 %) would consider a drop of 3 points on the OARS ADL Scale as significant to define functional decline and would be satisfied with a sensitivity of 90 % for a clinical decision instrument to detect such a decline. Any instrument to identify patients at elevated risk for subsequent decline should consider these outcome measures to be clinically useful.
Abdulaziz, K. E., Brehaut, J., Taljaard, M., Émond, M., Sirois, M. J., Lee, J. S., … Perry, J. J. (2016, August 22). National survey of family physicians to define functional decline in elderly patients with minor trauma. BMC Family Practice. BioMed Central Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12875-016-0520-1