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Surgery and frail elders

Yes, we all get old. Some of us do it more gracefully than others. But research suggests we should do our best to maintain strength and avoid frailty as long as possible. Frailty: one definition we read goes: “a multidimensional geriatric syndrome characterized by a decline of physical and cognitive reserves that leads to increased vulnerability.” Thank you, https://www.health.vic.gov.au/patient-care/frailty. As the Victorian health website goes on to explain, frailty is associated with increased risk of poor outcomes after illness or surgery, falls, longer hospital stays, and, well, mortality.

This article is a few years old now, but it hasn’t lost its relevance. The point is that before agreeing to a surgical procedure, the patient’s level of frailty ought to be considered and surgeons need to be honest about the odds of a positive outcome. Some of us in the early Village years still have parents alive, and if that’s you, you may find this helpful.