Older Adults Weigh Variety of Concerns Before Elective Surgery

Top concerns include pain or discomfort, recovery, and out-of-pocket costs

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THURSDAY, March 17, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Many older adults have concerns about scheduling elective surgery, according to the results of the latest University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Aging.

Preeti Malani, M.D., from the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation in Ann Arbor, and colleagues conducted a survey (online and via telephone in August 2021) of 2,110 randomly selected older U.S. adults (aged 50 to 80 years).

The researchers found that three in 10 respondents considered having an elective surgery in the previous five years, while half of them had considered it within the previous year. More respondents of older age (65 to 80 years) considered elective surgery than those of younger age (50 to 64 years; 36 versus 25 percent). The most common elective surgeries considered included joint surgery (18 percent), eye surgery (12 percent), and abdominal surgery (10 percent). The most common concerns evaluated in decision-making included pain or discomfort (64 percent), difficulty of recovery (57 percent), out-of-pocket costs (46 percent), and having someone care for them after surgery (34 percent).

"These are important and potentially underappreciated challenges to delivering timely surgical care to this growing segment of the population," the authors write.

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