Surgery in the older person: Training needs for the provision of multidisciplinary care

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION

Many older surgical patients are exposed to high risks of morbidity and mortality when undergoing both elective and emergency surgery.

METHODS

We provide an overview of perioperative care teams and the educational opportunities available to surgeons who undertake surgery in the older person.

FINDINGS

The number of older people undergoing surgery is increasing at a rate faster than the proportion of older people in the overall population. Management of the older surgical patient throughout the surgical pathway forms part of the Specialty Training Curriculum for Geriatric Medicine. While ‘surgery in childhood’ continues to form part of the general surgical higher training syllabus, surgery in the later years of life does not. There are limited postgraduate courses and training opportunities currently available to surgeons in this field. There is clear societal need to address perioperative care for older surgical patients, which has proved successful in some centers. Moreover, surgical trainees support the inclusion of geriatric medicine issues into their training.

CONCLUSIONS

The ageing population requires a multidisciplinary perioperative approach, with dedicated and appropriately trained clinicians and allied health care professionals to improve outcomes.

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