As the population of older adults ages, post-operative care has changed considerably. Since many elderly people will struggle to cope with this change alone, hospitals have gained experience and more patient volume, and care has improved considerably for elderly patients. However, many older individuals don’t act their age, as their minds and bodies are often not in sync. While their body may show signs of age, they may be energetic and full of life. They can even have more energy than a younger person.
A multidisciplinary approach to post-op surgery care
Multidisciplinary teams have been developed to optimize care for older adults. They are composed of orthopedic surgeons, geriatricians, intensive care unit specialists, and physiotherapists. They develop a multidisciplinary pathway for post-op care, from the emergency department to discharge. A geriatrician coordinates the program and manages comorbidities and polypharmacy.
This collaborative effort has been demonstrated to improve perioperative care and clinical outcomes. The goal of multidisciplinary care teams is to coordinate activities with patient-centered outcomes. The field of multidisciplinary care has spawned numerous protocols over the past half-century, resulting in improved patient outcomes. Although some authors have reported positive results in patient outcomes, evidence is still lacking. Nevertheless, the benefits of multidisciplinary care teams can be substantial for patients.
An interdisciplinary approach to post-operative care for the elderly is critical. Increasing multidisciplinary care teams can lower costs, length of stay, and mortality. Moreover, the multidisciplinary care team’s protocol can improve patient outcomes by decreasing in-hospital mortality and readmissions. Therefore, it is important to understand the challenges of implementing a multidisciplinary care team in resource-limited settings.
Preparing for post-op surgery
After surgery, the post-operative period begins. Patients are given instructions on preparing themselves for home care and following their medication schedule. They also receive supplies and a sign-off from their surgeon. Preparation for home care begins before the surgery, as the elderly often have difficulty walking after the procedure. To prepare for home care, ask the doctor or nurse to give you a list of items you will need to take.
Your senior’s diet is important during the post-operative period. An aging body can be taxing, so preparing a nutritious and well-balanced diet before surgery is recommended. Your surgeon may issue dietary guidelines, but most older adults benefit from a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. In addition, make sure your senior drinks plenty of water to maintain hydration.
A multimodal approach to pain management for the elderly is the cornerstone of post-operative care in this population. Medications with various mechanisms of action are used in conjunction with nonpharmacologic pain relief therapies to alleviate pain. A comprehensive pain management plan will address this patient population’s immediate and long-term needs. Using multiple modalities for pain management is critical for enhancing mobility and recovery.
The patient profile of older people is diverse and may include age-related impairment, concurrent medications, lower functional status, and physiological reserve. Cognitive impairment makes pain assessment difficult and may lead to inappropriate prescribing. Pain assessment in the elderly can also present problems due to a reduced capacity to estimate pain. Because elderly patients cannot assess pain accurately, analgesia is necessary on request. Remembering that analgesia is a necessary component of post-operative recovery is important.