There are quite a few elderly people who are very vulnerable. They face different diseases simultaneously; they are physically and mentally. It should be considered whether the diagnosis is useful because they are particularly vulnerable to iatrogenen effects of an examination or treatment. This article focus on the pathology of the vulnerable elderly, geriatric patients.
This article is adapted from the article "The geriatric patient: a vulnerable elder from Gooke Lagaay.
It is difficult to determine when a patient must be regarded as geriatric patients. Sometimes a person already at the age of 60 have one or more diseases have few social contacts and dependent care. In that case we speak of a geriatric patient despite the relatively young age.
The most common definition is: someone with a complex syndrome, due to disturbances in physical, mental and / or social area allowing independent functioning and quality of life is adversely affected.
On the following separate geriatric patients are younger adults and vital elderly.
interweaving of medical-biological, psychological and social factors
atypical presentation of disease
reduced reserve function
These three aspects influence each other in a high degree. For example, there may be a delirium after a heart attack. Conversely, a depression care for physical ailments. And social factors such as loneliness can lead to an unhealthy life.
Crucially, the environment of the patient. Is there a partner who can help? Are the children themselves already elderly? In geriatrics so one looks beyond the medical issue.
A geriatric patient has multiple diseases. A confluence of various problems lead to a serious limitation. For a solution is team work required, such as a neurologist and orthopedic surgeon, physician and home care, etc. It is a multidisciplinary problem that requires a multidisciplinary approach.
Many people over 65 use multiple drugs simultaneously. There are often unwanted side effects, interactions and intoxications. Known gastric haemorrhages painkillers and sedatives to fall. Quitting drugs is not easy.
Diseases may present differently in the elderly than in the young. The medical history and symptoms are vague. A urine infection can indicate incontinence, but can be just as good a delirium. An elderly patient has a different experience of the complaints. Fearing the consequences one can downplay complaints.
The different bodies have smaller reserves and thus an organ system decompensation. There may be easily complications arise whereby different organs are involved.
Older people differ from each other. For example, the kidney may vary considerably. The function of liver and kidney, in addition to weight and length determine the medication. For caregivers, this means tailored to the patient.