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Geriatric Consultation Ups Post-Trauma Functional Recovery

After adjustment, better recovery of function seen in activities of daily living with consultation

MONDAY, Dec. 2, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Geriatric consultation is associated with improved functional recovery among older trauma patients, according to a study published online Nov. 27 in JAMA Surgery.

Areti Tillou, M.D., from the David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California in Los Angeles, and colleagues examined the impact of routine geriatric consultation on functional outcomes in older trauma patients (age 65 years and older). The study involved a pretest control group of 37 patients, identified retrospectively, and a posttest geriatric consultation group of 85 patients, enrolled prospectively. Both groups were followed for one year after enrollment.

The researchers observed a decrease in the unadjusted Short Functional Status score in the geriatric consultation group only, from 4.6 pre-injury to 3.7 at 12 months post-injury (a decline of nearly one full activity of daily living; P < 0.05). The specific activity of daily living more commonly retained by the geriatric consultation group was the ability to shop for personal items. In the year following injury, the geriatric consultation group had better recovery of function, after controlling for age, sex, race/ethnicity, length of stay, comorbidity, injury severity, post-discharge rehabilitation, complication, and surgery (P < 0.01; difference of 0.67 activities of daily living abilities retained by the geriatric consultation group).

"We present evidence suggesting that geriatric-specific interventions in the acute setting may contribute to improved functional recovery after traumatic injury in the elderly," the authors write.

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