Lesley Bainbridge, Lead Nurse Care Home Vanguard Programme, Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commissioning Group,
Watching the Invictus Games last week prompted me to draw parallels between sudden onset disability and that associated with old age. While watching I was reminded of two patients I’d cared for over a decade ago whose problems in old age were attributed to the trauma of war. Working as a nurse specialist for older people in a community intermediate care team both men were referred by their GPs for further assessment.
What led to the ‘diagnosis’ of war trauma was comprehensive geriatric assessment [CGA] and the fact that I worked in a multidisciplinary [MDT] team that meant my patients were speedily referred to others when necessary. CGA is the best evidence base we have for providing care for older people with complex needs and it is well accepted that those that have access to MDTs do best.
CGA considers the whole person, covering 5 domains of their life including medical, social, mental health, environmental and functional. It allows us to gather information about usual and present state to identify problems and draw up a care plan to address each issue in turn in order to optimise overall health and wellbeing.