By 2020, the elderly (≥65-year-old) world population is projected to exceed one billion individuals. This demographic megatrend has brought topics such as physiological age and frailty to the forefront of medical research efforts around the globe. The concept of frailty has evolved significantly since the mid-twentieth century. The outdated stereotype of a “thin, stooped, slow octogenarian” has transitioned to a more scientific and objective understanding of the problem. Still, a comprehensive and concise definition of “frailty” remains elusive. Until such a definition is firmly established and universally agreed upon, clinicians continue to rely on the somewhat subjective conceptual framework of today. In this chapter, the authors review key issues pertaining to clinical management of frail patients, including diagnosis/identification, preventive strategies, therapeutic approaches, and common pitfalls. The relationship between frailty, various domains of life, and functional status is also discussed. Finally, we will touch upon the concepts of end-of-life and goals of care, focusing on their relationship to frailty.
Part of the book: Challenges in Elder Care
Patient safety is a global public health concern. It is a health care discipline with ever evolving advancement and complexity resulting in consequential rise in patient harm. Since the pandemic, patient safety has been threatened even more by laying bare the inadequacies of health systems. Many unsafe care practices, risks, and errors contribute to patient harm and overall economic burden. These include medical, diagnostic, and radiation errors, healthcare associated infections, unsafe surgical procedures and transfusion practices, sepsis, venous thromboembolism, and falls. Although patient safety has become an integral part of the healthcare delivery model and resources have been dedicated towards it, much still needs to be achieved. An attitude of inclusivity for all care teams and anyone in contact with the patient, including the patients themselves, would enhance patient safety. Incorporating this attitude from educational infancy will allow for better identification of medical errors and inculcate critical analysis of process improvement. Implementing the ‘Just Culture’ by health care organizations can build the infrastructure to eliminate avoidable harm. To reduce avoidable harm and improve safety, a constant flow of information and knowledge should be available to mitigate the risks. Lastly, proper communication and effective leadership can play an imperative role to engage stakeholders and reduce harm.
Part of the book: Contemporary Topics in Patient Safety