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GeriPal - A Geriatrics and Palliative Care Podcast

Jun 30, 2022

You have a patient with dementia severe enough that she cannot recognize relatives.  She falls and breaks her hip.  Should she have an operation, and risk the pain, potential complications, and attendant delirium associated with the operation?  Should she be treated non-operatively, with aggressive symptom management?  A huge part of this decision rests on (1) her previously stated wishes, values, and goals (prior to the onset of dementia); and (2) the outcomes of surgery for patients with dementia.

In today’s podcast we talk with surgeon Samir Shah and Health Services Researcher Joel Weissman about a pair of JAGS articles they published on the outcomes of high risk surgery and advance care planning among persons with dementia.  Toward the end we get to hear from Samir about how he would approach decision making for a patient such as the above patient, and from Joel Weissman about what’s to be done about the pressure and incentives our health system exerts to operate, operate, operate.