Background: Community dwelling elderly who are temporarily unable to live independently due to functional decline can be referred for geriatric rehabilitation care at a nursing home. This referral is always preceded by a comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA) by a geriatrician in hospital to rule out an indication for clinical admission and to evaluate geriatric multimorbidity. Because there is little evidence of the effectiveness of this procedure, we aimed to evaluate the results of this assessment and to elaborate on its relevance.
Methods: All patients who were referred by their general practitioner for a CGA in our hospital prior to geriatric rehabilitation care between March and December 2016 were included prospectively. Data were analysed retrospectively. Our primary aim was to describe the percentage of patients with an indication for hospital admission. Other outcomes included new diagnostic findings from the geriatric assessment and recommendations given to the elderly care physician in the geriatric rehabilitation facility.
Results: Of the 32 assessed patients, 25% required admission to hospital, either due to somatic illness, mainly infections or suspected neurological disorders, needing clinical treatment, or for further diagnostics. New findings by geriatric assessment mostly concerned vitamin deficiency and infection, for which treatment recommendations were given to the elderly care physician.
Conclusion: Geriatric assessment prior to geriatric rehabilitation referral is essential as it identifies patients needing hospital care, which cannot be provided at a nursing home. Furthermore, the assessment results in important recommendations to the elderly care physician in the geriatric rehabilitation facility.