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Practical Geriatric Assessment

Tia Kostas, Allison Paquin, James L Rudolph

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Preserving function is a priority in caring for older patients. In geriatrics, the focus of care shifts from the treatment of multiple chronic diseases to the impact of these chronic diseases on function. Clinicians must conduct functional assessments in order to establish a baseline and identify changes over time. This article gives the healthcare provider practical tools to assess function and conditions that impact function in a busy clinic setting. Since functional abilities represent the integration of the effects of multiple, complex disease states, it is important to perform a comprehensive assessment of key domains, including physical, cognitive, psychological and social domains. For each domain, we will present practical tools for screening (<2 min) as well as tools for more in-depth assessments (<10 min). Healthcare providers are encouraged to use these tools to help care for their older patients, all while keeping in mind individual patient function, safety and goals of care.