Intended for healthcare professionals


Comprehensive geriatric assessment for older adults

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 27 October 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d6799
  1. Andreas E Stuck, professor of geriatrics1,
  2. Steve Iliffe, professor of primary care for older people2
  1. 1Geriatrics Department, University of Berne, Inselspital University Hospital, CH-3010 Bern, Switzerland
  2. 2University College London, UCL Royal Free Campus, London, UK
  1. andreas.stuck{at}

Should be standard practice, according to a wealth of evidence

Care of older people differs from care of middle aged adults. Older people often have more complex multisystem problems, are at increased risk for morbidity and mortality, and need comprehensive interventions that take into account the biopsychosocial components of health. Comprehensive geriatric assessment is an approach developed for this purpose. It is a process that determines an older person’s medical, psychosocial, functional, and environmental resources and problems, and it creates an overall plan for treatment and follow-up.1 It encompasses linkage of medical and social care around medical diagnoses and decision making under the leadership of a doctor trained in geriatric medicine.

Older people admitted to hospital as emergencies are at especially high risk. In the linked systematic review (doi: 10.1136/bmj.d6553), Ellis and colleagues performed a meta-analysis of the comprehensive geriatric assessment of elderly people admitted to hospital.2 They found that patients in hospital who received such an assessment were significantly less likely to die or experience functional deterioration. As …

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