Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment

What is a comprehensive geriatric assessment?

A comprehensive geriatric assessment is a specialised form of care provided to the elderly, which can be done in several steps.

A geriatric assessment is a coordinated approach to ensure the patient and their family is content with the treatment plan.

What does a geriatric assessment involve?

Dr Coetzer identifies issues in various domains such as a physical assessment, functional and social assessment, psychological health and medication review.

A physical assessment, an important subsection of a geriatric assessment, incorporates different aspects of clinical evaluation. For example, a physical exam will assess a person’s posture, especially when they become frail. Dr Coetzer will also check for sensory loss through quick screening tests such as visual testing, audio repetition and hearing aid cupping.

Furthermore, Dr Coetzer will evaluate footwear and gait to assess the patient’s balance. Finally, Dr Coetzer can refer you for vibration testing to check the health of the joints by using advanced computerised technology to record joint vibrations. A change in the person’s posture is a strong indication of reduced function due to pain.

Nutrition, healthy eating and a PR examination are also encouraged. A PR exam detects issues that are often missed or neglected. For example, older men should check their prostates for changes in size and shape. Generally, a PR exam can pick up rectal bleeding, masses in the rectum and haemorrhoids. Weight monitoring is another important part of a physical assessment because, during the exam, Dr Coetzer can check for loose, sagging skin and loose-fitting clothes.

Although physical health is important, we must protect our mental and psychological well-being. Our psychological health requires more pruning by adapting to life’s changes as we age. In this case, people over sixty-five are likely to develop changes in their mood, making them vulnerable to social exclusion and depression. While diagnosing depression is considered a diagnostic challenge, it is imperative to do so to prevent further health decline.

Why is it so important to review medications?

All medications carry side effects. Most of these side effects include drowsiness, dry mouth and stomach discomfort. Sometimes, Dr Coetzer may have to reduce the prescription of old medications in order to avoid rebound symptoms and prevent a psychological or physiological dependence.

Quote IconLove and respect old-aged people because you are ageing too.