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The questions surgeons need to ask their seniors before surgery

Judith Graham | Kevin Md, Conditions | August 13, 2019

This article talks about:
“….a common complaint: Surgeons don’t help older adults and their families understand the impact of surgery in terms people can understand, even though older patients face a higher risk of complications after surgery. Nor do they routinely engage in “shared decision-making,” which involves finding out what’s most important to patients and discussing surgery’s potential effect on their lives before setting a course for treatment.”

Several real-world examples are related regarding seniors and surgical prouedures.

‘”There was not any broad discussion of what his life might look like if things didn’t go well,” said Karen McHenry, 49, who writes a blog about caring for older parents. “We couldn’t even imagine what ended up happening.”’

“Now new standards meant to improve surgical care for older adults have been endorsed by the American College of Surgeons. All older patients should have the opportunity to discuss their health goals and goals for the procedure, as well as their expectations for their recovery and their quality of life after surgery, according to the standards.”

“…. not how “informed consent” usually works. Generally, surgeons explain to an older patient the physical problem, how surgery is meant to correct it, and what complications are possible, backed by references to scientific studies.”

“Surgeons can help guide discussions that require complex decision-making by asking five questions, according to Dr. Zara Cooper, associate professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School:

  • How does your health affect your day-to-day life?
  • When you think about your health, what’s most important to you?
  • What are you expecting to gain from this operation?
  • What health conditions or treatments worry you most?
  • And what abilities are so critical to you that you can’t imagine living without them?

Read the article “The questions surgeons need to ask their seniors before surgery

Read “American College of Surgeons – Optimal Resources for Geriatric Surgery:

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