April 1998 Bulletin

Archives to focus on aging

Academy, AGS collaborate on publication

To expand upon the Academy’s continuing efforts in providing optimum care for the aging population, Caring for the Aging Patient, a collaborative effort with the American Geriatrics Society (AGS), was chosen as the subject for next issue for the Archives of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. The Academy has been been working with AGS for the past three years to increase orthopaedists’knowledge of aging issues and treatments.

Kenneth J. Koval, MD, who edited the book and wrote several chapters, said the publication is an "excellent teaching tool" for the future of orthopaedics. "We feel that there’s been a void in orthopaedic surgeons’ educationóa lack of understanding the needs of the aging population and being sensitive to their needs."

The chapters include topics on physiologic changes of aging; elder abuse; orthopaedic rheumatology, polypharmacy and the elderly patient; chronic cognitive dysfunction (Alzheimer’s Disease); and falls and the elderly.

Dr. Koval said there’s been "a push" toward increasing course curriculum on the elderly population in medical schools. "But there are still a lot of doctors out there that weren’t trained in treating the elderly and don’t understand some of the issues," he said. "This publication will help doctors provide better care for the aged."

Adds Dr. Koval, who sees a high percentage of elderly patients, "It’s critical for my colleagues to develop a sensitivity to the aging patient, empathy for patient’s current familial status and to develop a trust and rapport with them so a physician can give them optimum care."

The Academy conducted two instructional courses at the Academy’s Annual Meeting - The Graying of America: its Impact on Your Orthopaedic Practice and Fracture Management in the Elderly. The Annual Meeting also included a breakfast meeting of orthopaedic surgeons with a special interest in geriatrics.

Caring for the Aging Patient will be sent to all fellows and candidates in March.

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