Health promotion, prevention, and rehabilitation in the elderly

Mau W, Reuter S.
Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 2011 Oct;136(43):2199-204. doi: 10.1055/s-0031-1292033. Epub 2011 Oct 18.  [Article in German]

SOURCE:  Institut für Rehabilitationsmedizin, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg.

Considering the increasing disability with higher age and the demographic changes health promotion, prevention and rehabilitation are of high relevance for the maintenance and restoration of activity and participation of the elderly. Among the most important goals of prevention are mobility including physical activity and prevention of falls, adequate nutrition, maintenance of mental health, social integration and function. Different conditions of geriatric rehabilitation in Germany focussing either on acute care hospitals with early rehabilitation (inpatient or outpatient) or on rehabilitation in specialized centres lead to regional disparities. The application for rehabilitation measures has to consider the need, ability to participate, specified goals and prognosis after the interventions. Disease specific rehabilitation has to be differentiated from general geriatric rehabilitation addressing typical multimorbidity and geriatric syndromes. Significant characteristics of geriatric rehabilitation are regular patient oriented discussions within the multi-professional and interdisciplinary team coordinated by geriatricians. This includes prioritizing the patient’s problems according to their significance and availability of effective therapy, evaluation of the results and adjustment of treatment goals if necessary. Standardised geriatric assessments should be applied. Geriatric rehabilitation including the interdisciplinary team increases function and reduces the risks of nursing home admissions and mortality. Therefore, the access to and the capacities of geriatric rehabilitation should be further improved.