New guidelines hone in on pre- and post-surgery care for seniors

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Healthcare providers caring for seniors should heed new guidelines for fall prevention, care transition and nutrition, according to two industry groups. Among the recommendations is to conduct a fall risk assessment.

Optimal Perioperative Management of the Geriatric Patient: A Best Practices Guideline, released Monday by the American Geriatrics Society and the American College of Surgeons,  details issues facing adults over age 65, and how healthcare professionals can help.

The demand of surgical services for seniors is expected to rise in coming years as the number of people over age 65 increases. Vascular surgery rates are projected to grow 31% by 2050, while general surgery is expected to grow by 18%.

Pre-operative guidelines largely focus on communication, such as advance directives or confirming a patient's goal. However, after surgery, in addition to fall risk assessments, the authors recommend providers create a nutrition plan and consider ways to prevent urinary tract infections and pressure ulcers. A coordinated transition from the hospital to a post-acute setting is especially important at this stage, the authors note, to help reduce rehospitalization rates and emergency department use.

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