Geriatric Syndrome

What is Geriatric Syndrome?

The term Geriatric Syndrome is not very well defined, as this group of illnesses do not fit into a discrete category or a single organ/system/tissue disorder. Geriatric Syndrome is a very heterogeneous group of common condition in elderly people such as delirium, fall, urinary incontinence, dizziness, syncope, frailty, malnutrition, vision/hearing problems, difficulty walking, and pressure ulcers.

How common are they?

They are very common medical conditions especially in frail elderly, which are managed by Geriatricians in outpatient clinics and acute aged care wards on a daily basis.

What is the cause?

The above clinical conditions are multi-factorial affecting multiple organ systems. For example urinary tract infection or upper/lower respiratory tract infection may present with delirium, which is altered mental function in the form of confusion and other cognitive or behavioural problems in elderly people.

What is the treatment?

The treatment of Geriatric Syndrome conditions is very challenging because multiple organs are involved, there are multiple risk factors and diagnostic strategies to identify the cause are not very effective (as difficult to ascertain the single pathology, are unpleasant, sometimes dangerous and inappropriate in a frail elderly person with dementia). The therapeutic management of the symptoms is not only needed for the patient care & also for family members but also very useful even in the absence of a firm diagnosis.