Dementia and High Risk Surgery

Minnesota Northstar Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program (GWEP)'s picture
Submitted by Minnesota North... on Mar 15, 2023 - 2:35pm CDT

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You have a patient with dementia severe enough that she cannot recognize relatives. She falls and breaks her hip. Should she have an operation, and risk the pain, potential complications, and attendant delirium associated with the operation? Should she be treated non-operatively, with aggressive symptom management? A huge part of this decision rests on (1) her previously stated wishes, values, and goals (prior to the onset of dementia); and (2) the outcomes of surgery for patients with dementia.

This podcast (42:35 minutes) interviews surgeon Samir Shah and health services researcher Joel Weissman who discuss a pair of JAGS articles they published on the outcomes of high risk surgery and advance care planning among persons with dementia. Toward the end we get to hear from Samir about how he would approach decision making for a patient with dementia, and from Joel Weissman about what’s to be done about the pressure and incentives our health system exerts to operate, operate, operate.

Source: GeriPal, 2022

Samir Shah
Joel Weissman
GWEP Repository