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Flatharta, TO,Mulkerrin, EC
Journal Of Nutrition Health & Aging
Back to Basics: Giant Challenges to Addressing Isaac's "Geriatric Giants" Post COVID-19 Crisis
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The COVID-19 pandemic, being the greatest challenge to our healthcare system for over a century, has its greatest impact on older patients. This subgroup has higher morbidity and mortality than younger age groups. Superimposed on this, the major preventative intervention resulting in social isolation has negative consequences. Prof. Bernard Isaacs described the "Geriatric Giant Symptoms" in 1965 and encouraged the development of interventions for immobility, instability, incontinence and impaired intellect/memory with careful management of these symptoms resulting in better outcomes for older patients including reduced admissions to Nursing Homes and mortality. The author's explore the impact of the current pandemic and, most particularly its aftermath on the provision of such interventions. In the context of a major economic crisis, resources for highly effective interventions such as joint replacement surgery, urological interventions, cataract surgery will be all be limited after this crisis. Moreover delayed access to day patient services with suboptimal access to assessments for conditions such as cognitive decline and falls as well as social care will likewise militate against addressing the "Geriatric Giant Symptoms". Thus the "Founding Fathers" of Geriatric Medicine including Prof Isaacs would be justifiably concerned regarding our ability to deliver interventions to address the "Geriatric Giant Symptoms". Current leaders in geriatric medicine, healthcare workers, funders and providers as well as advocacy groups must redouble their efforts to ensure gains made in management of older patients over 2 generations are not lost in the aftermath of this pandemic.
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