Gerontology and Aging
Dysphagia in Older AdultsDysphagia, which is a geriatric syndrome affecting 10% to 33% of older adults, is commonly seen in older adults who have experienced a stroke or neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer or Parkinson disease. Patients diagnosed as having dysphagia can experience malnutrition, pneumonia, and dehydration. Patients can also experience increased rates of mortality and long-term care admission. Providers can identify the specific type of dysphagia for treatment in approximately 80% of patients by asking 5 questions in the patient’s history: What happens when you try to swallow? Do you have trouble chewing? Do you have difficulty swallowing solids, liquids, or both? Describe the symptom onset, duration, and frequency? What are the associated symptoms? Providers can then request a videofluoroscopic swallow study or a fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing for further evaluation of oropharyngeal dysphagia.
Polypharmacy Management in Older PatientsMedications to treat disease and extend life in our patients often amass in quantities, resulting in what has been termed “polypharmacy.” This imprecise label usually describes the accumulation of 5, and often more, medications. Polypharmacy in advancing age frequently results in drug therapy problems related to interactions, drug toxicity, falls with injury, delirium, and nonadherence. Polypharmacy is associated with resulting increased hospitalizations and higher costs of care for individuals and health care systems.
Hospital to Community Transitions for Older Adults: An Update for the Practicing ClinicianSpurred by changes in both population demographics and health care reimbursement, health care providers are responding by using new models to more fully support the posthospital transition. This paper reviews common models for posthospital transition and also describes the Mayo Clinic model for care transition. Models are designed with the intent of managing the cost of health care by reducing 30-day hospital readmissions and improving management of chronic disease. Meta-analyses have proved helpful in identifying the most effective program elements designed to reduce 30-day hospital readmissions.
Prevention, Diagnosis, and Management of Chronic Wounds in Older AdultsChronic wounds are common, disproportionately affect older adults, and are likely to be encountered by providers across all specialties and care settings. All providers should be familiar with basic wound prevention, identification, classification, and treatment approach, all of which are outlined in this article.