One of the cornerstones of modern geriatric care is comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA). This is defined as a “multidimensional interdisciplinary diagnostic process focused on determining a frail older person’s medical, psychological and functional capability in order to develop a coordinated and integrated plan for treatment and long term follow up.”
Comprehensive geriatric assessment is therefore both a diagnostic and therapeutic process. It seeks to ensure that problems are identified, quantified, and managed appropriately. The likelihood of multiple overlapping problems necessitates assessment across several domains and therefore involves several disciplines. These assessments across medical, psychiatric, functional, and social domains are required to develop a broad or multifaceted therapeutic plan to enhance recovery and promote independence.
These are sometimes referred to as interdisciplinary geriatric consultation services (grouped here under the heading of “teams”). Various reviews of comprehensive geriatric assessment already exist in the literature but have shortfalls in their comprehensiveness. One of the earliest reviews included analysis of trials of stroke care as well as orthogeriatrics and has now been superseded by individual specialty reviews. Others have looked at specific subgroups of comprehensive geriatric assessment based on timing of admission, patient defined criteria, or ward title or have simply had inadequate analysis data. We determined whether inpatient comprehensive geriatric assessment for frail older adults admitted to hospital as an emergency is more effective than routine or general medical care in hospital.