Specialist geriatric services: A necessity within the radiotherapy workforce

Omar Abdel-Rahman

Abstract


A large proportion of cancer patients receiving outpatient chemotherapy and radiotherapy services are more than 70 years old. For this subgroup of patients, a general clinical evaluation may not be sufficient to determine an individual’s treatment strategy as there are other non-stand¬ard medical issues that concern the elderlies such as polypharmacy, the need for extra social care, and accessibility to information[1]. In addition, these patients also have increased risks of reduced mobility, as well as emotional and financial difficulties.

 

Therefore, it is necessary to incorporate geriatric as-sessment (GA) into routine medical practice in order to improve individualized care[2,3]. Geriatric assessment is a comprehensive process that evaluates a senior patient’s medical, emotional, social and functional capacity[4]. In the current issue of AMOR, Louise Hogan and Anita O’Donovan from Trinity College Dublin evaluated the experience of elderly patients who used radiotherapy services in Ireland[5]. This was conducted through a number of questions directed at a focus group of elderly cancer patients, assessing different spheres of social dif-ficulties associated with undergoing radiotherapy in this age group.

 

They found that it is important to focus on providing essential information to patients in a calm setting at an appropriate time. They also recommended establishing proper support groups for elderly patients receiving radi-otherapy, as well as encouraging one-to-one discus-sions between patients and members of the healthcare team regarding possible side effects of treatment.

 

In conclusion, it is evident that specialist geriatric ser-vices within radiotherapy departments are a necessity, given the large number of elderly patients receiving radi-otherapy and the specificity of their medical and social needs. It is also believed that a treatment strategy based on a personalized GA for elderly patients will improve the overall treatment efficacy and minimize unwanted complications[6].

 


Conflict of Interest
The author declares no potential conflict of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.


Keywords


geriatric services; patient care; radiotherapy

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.30564/amor.v2i2.36

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