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Comprehensive geriatric assessment of frail older people: ideals, reality

Journal article
Authors Synneve Dahlin-Ivanoff
Anna Dunér
Kajsa Eklund
Katarina Wilhelmson
Eva Lidén
Eva Holmgren
Published in Journal of Interprofessional Care
Volume 32
Issue 6
Pages 728-734
ISSN 1356-1820
Publication year 2018
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Health and Rehabilitation
Department of Social Work
Institute of Health and Care Sciences
Centre for Ageing and Health (Agecap)
Pages 728-734
Language en
Subject categories Social Work, Nursing, Geriatrics, Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Health Care Service and Management, Health Policy and Services and Health Economy


We explored different professionals’ views on and experiences of comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA) of frail older people. Forty-six professionals working in hospitals, primary care, or municipal health and social care participated in 10 focus groups. Professional groups comprised of occupational therapists, physiotherapists, nurses, physicians, and social workers. Participants shared an ideal image of how the CGA of frail elderly people should be conducted. Experience-based competence was more often used as an assessment tool than standardized tests. The ideal image contrasted with reality, listening to the needs expressed, with the person’s problems, needs, and priorities in the foreground, as described by the categories: a need that can be met; different perspectives on needs; needs can be hidden; and needs assessment is affected by the collaboration around the person, by the context, and by the dialogue. The health and social care professionals’ first priority is to make a person-centred tailor-made comprehensive geriatric assessment and not be bound to instruments. Clear guidelines need to be developed, stating which profession assesses what, when and how in order to ensure that person-centred needs are assessed including structures and procedures for how communication and collaboration within the team as well as between the organizations are achieved in order to perform a good person-centred CGA.

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