Guidelines for care of elderly patients ignored

Jul 08, 2008

Guidelines for the treatment of older patients with respiratory conditions are routinely ignored. Research published today in the open access journal BMC Health Services Research shows that recommended treatments are given to only a small minority of eligible patients.

Benjamin Craig from the Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, USA, led a team who investigated the treatment of nearly 30,000 patients across the US. According to Craig, "Despite the proliferation of numerous guidelines for the management of adults with obstructive respiratory diseases, we found major disparities between the actual care given and that which is recommended".

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and asthma are leading causes of death in people over the age of 45 in the US. COPD claims the lives of around 30,000 people per year in the UK. Guidelines for treatment of these conditions have been available for a number of years.

They emphasize the importance of lung function tests, access to inhalers, influenza vaccination and smoking cessation. However, as Craig reports, "Slightly less than 22% of older adults with asthma or COPD received bronchodilator inhalers. An even smaller minority received one or more lung function examinations during the year and 18% were not vaccinated against influenza".

A substantial portion (16%) of the patients were smokers and the majority (53%) were former smokers. The researchers found that current smokers were less likely to receive care than those who had never smoked or who had quit. Craig explained that, "The finding that smokers receive less care is both troubling and intriguing. There may be a group of patients with such a strong nicotine addiction that quitting would be very difficult. It might be that some of these patients withdraw from care to avoid uncomfortable encounters with physicians who urge smoking cessation. Alternatively, of course, some physicians may dismiss smokers because they have failed to change their behaviour."

The researchers conclude that the needs of older adults with obstructive respiratory disease and possible nicotine addiction deserve special attention and that guidelines require further development and much wider implementation.

Source: BioMed Central

Explore further: Keeping that weight loss resolution

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

A tiny, time-released treatment

Oct 09, 2013

Omid Farokhzad's vision of medicine's future sounds a lot like science fiction. He sees medicine scaled down, with vanishingly small nanoparticles playing a big role, delivering drug doses measured in molecules ...

Polymer's hunt for nicotine

Aug 04, 2011

Newly synthesized polymer, fitted with molecular pincers of carefully tailored structure, effectively captures nicotine molecules and its analogues. The polymer can be used for fabrication of sensitive and selective chemical ...

Arizona Medicaid considers tax on smokers, obese

Apr 02, 2011

(AP) -- Arizona's cash-strapped Medicaid program is considering charging patients $50 a year if they smoke, have diabetes or are overweight. A spokeswoman for the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System said Friday that ...

Recommended for you

Keeping that weight loss resolution

17 hours ago

(HealthDay)—If you're one of the many Americans who plan to lose weight next year, there are a number of things you can do to improve your chances of success, an expert says.

A case for treating both mind and body

Dec 28, 2014

New research from Rutgers University lends more support to the idea that integrating treatment of mind and body could lead to better - and cheaper - medical care.

Pregnant woman taken off life support in Ireland

Dec 26, 2014

A brain-dead pregnant woman was taken off life support Friday after a court ruled that her 18-week-old fetus was doomed to die—a case that exposed fear and confusion among doctors over how to apply Ireland's ...

'Tis the season to overeat

Dec 25, 2014

(HealthDay)—Overeating is common during the holidays, but there are strategies that can help you eat in moderation, an expert says.

Don't let burns mar your holidays

Dec 25, 2014

(HealthDay)—The risk of burns from fires and cooking accidents increases during the holidays, so you need to be extra cautious, an expert says.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.