Working Collaboratively: Outcomes of Geriatrician Input in Older Patients Undergoing Emergency Laparotomy in a District General Hospital (2020)

Type of publication:
Journal article

*Khan, Kashuf A; Subramanian, Thejasvi; Richters, Megan; Mubarik, Ayesha; Saad Abdalla Al-Zawi, Abdalla; Thorn, Christopher C; Chalstrey, Susan; Gunasekera, Savithri

Cureus; Feb 2020; vol. 12 (no. 2); p. e7069

With the increasing median age of survival in the UK, there is an increased burden on the provision of medical and surgical care to the population. The 2010 National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death report, “An Age Old Problem,” emphasizes the early involvement of surgical and geriatric consultant input to improve perioperative care in older patients. This study describes the development of a Geriatric Surgical Liaison Service aimed at providing consultant-led geriatrician support to improve the outcomes of older patients undergoing Emergency Laparotomy (EL). The primary outcome is the reduction in length of stay (LOS) compared to baseline data prior to geriatrician involvement. The service was designed to include one clinical session involving a consultant geriatrician and two and a half days with a junior doctor in a week. Data was collected prospectively from February 2018 till July 2018 for surgical patients aged ≥ 70 years, who underwent EL, had an inpatient stay of more than seven days, and who were diagnosed with delirium or incurred inpatient falls (intervention group). Baseline data, prior to geriatrician involvement, were collected retrospectively for EL patients aged ≥ 70 years from December 2015 until May 2016. Length of stay and 30-day mortality were also compared between the two cohorts undergoing EL. A total of 69 patients were included in the intervention group; 45 patients underwent EL and their mean LOS was 17.5 days, which was reduced from 22.5 days prior to geriatrician involvement (n=57). There was no difference in median length of stay and 30-day mortality between the retrospective baseline group and the intervention groups. In the intervention group, 8.5% of patients had a new medical diagnosis and 26.8% of patients were offered follow-ups. Although statistically not significant (p=0.40), a shorter stay in hospital by five days can potentially have a positive impact on patient outcomes by reducing psychosocial, cognitive, and functional deconditioning. This would also improve patient flow, release capacity, and waiting times and would be of benefit to the financially strained National Health Service (NHS). Overall, our study suggests that a collaborative, consultant-led geriatric service can improve the management of older surgical patients by potentially reducing length of stay, identifying high-risk patients, and facilitating early and appropriate specialty input alongside adequate and required outpatient follow-up.

Link to full-text [No password required]