There is no place for ageism or prejudiced attitudes towards older people in the provision of medical care. Older patients benefit from specialist services just as do younger patients. At any one time older patients admitted to hospital may suffer from a variety of medical conditions and disabilities. Thus it follows that their care should be in the context of good collaboration and teamwork between physicians - those who specialise in geriatric medicine, general physicians with a special interest in, for example, gastroenterology or cardiology - and a multidisciplinary team. Without such collaboration and planning, the jobs of geriatricians and general physicians may overlap in ways that interfere with optimum care of older patients and unnecessarily add to the physicians already heavy workload.
In the context of the settings in which older people may be cared for, and the stages in their care from acute admission to rehabilitation - the journey of care - this report, published in 2000:
- explores the issues and sets out clear guidance on the management of elderly people admitted to acute medical units and gives model systems of admission
- examines the relationship between geriatric and general physicians and other medical specialists and makes recommendations for a multidisciplinary approach to the delivery of care for older people
- examines the interface between primary and secondary care in the management of acute admissions of elderly people
- emphasises the need and criteria for workforce planning and appropriate training.
The report concludes with a check list for use by clinicians and managers dealing with medical admissions to hospitals which covers access to the service, the quality of care they provide and medical workforce requirements.
Copies available on request.