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COVID-19 pandemic: palliative care for elderly and frail patients at home and in residential and nursing homes

Special article
Kunz R, Minder M
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20235

The current pandemic and the publication of the SAMS Guidelines “COVID-19 pandemic: triage for intensive-care treatment under resource scarcity” have prompted the Association for Geriatric Palliative Medicine to prepare these recommendations for practice.

The oldest old: the newest focus in end-of-life care?

Viewpoint
Chambaere K
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20206

Older people living with serious illness and multiple old-age related co-morbidities are regarded as a group in a highly vulnerable position when it comes to decision making at the end of life. They are largely unempowered and prone to medical paternalism and ageism. Their low functional status can lead to therapeutic pessimism.

Do older adults benefit from post-acute care following hospitalisation? A prospective cohort study at three Swiss nursing homes

Original article
Thalmann M, Tröster T, Fischer K, Bieri-Brüning G, Beeler PE, Bischoff-Ferrari HA, Gagesch M
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20198

In this real-word sample, post-acute care resulted in a significant and clinically relevant improvement in physical performance and activities of daily living.

Drug prescription patterns, polypharmacy and potentially inappropriate medication in Swiss nursing homes: a descriptive analysis based on claims data

Original article
Schneider R, Reinau D, Schur N, Blozik E, Früh M, Signorell A, Meier CR, Schwenkglenks M
Swiss Med Wkly. 2019;149:w20126

Since drug prescribing plays a major role in nursing home settings, its optimisation has become a public-health issue worldwide. To date, comprehensive data on drug utilisation in Swiss nursing homes are lacking.

Determinants of hospital length of stay after transcatheter aortic valve implantation with self-expanding prostheses: a prospective, single centre observational study

Original article
Frei A, Adamopoulos D, Müller H, Walder B, Perrin N, Reynaud T, Ho S, Roffi M, Mach F, Licker MJ, Noble S
Swiss Med Wkly. 2019;149:w20095

The indication for transcatheter aortic valve implantation is extending to the intermediate risk population, and the price of the devices remains high. In order to limit costs, the use of hospital resources should be optimised.

Planning ahead with dementia: what role can advance care planning play? A review on opportunities and challenges

Review article: Biomedical intelligence
Bosisio F, Jox RJ, Jones L, Rubli Truchard E
Swiss Med Wkly. 2018;148:w14706

Taking care of someone with dementia poses a significant challenge for both relatives and professionals. Advance care planning can empower patients with dementia and their relatives to exert control over future care.

What is the profile of older drivers considered medically unfit to drive? A cross-sectional survey in Western Switzerland

Original article
Sebo P, Vaucher P, Haller D, Huber P, Mueller Y, Favrat B
Swiss Med Wkly. 2018;148:w14684

In Switzerland, a medical assessment is mandatory every other year for drivers over 70. This is usually undertaken by general practitioners (GPs), except in Geneva where it is carried out by the medical assessors of the road traffic office.

Awareness, approval and completion of advance directives in older adults in Switzerland

Original article
Vilpert S, Borrat-Besson C, Maurer J, Borasio GD
Swiss Med Wkly. 2018;148:w14642

Switzerland introduced legally binding advance directives 2013. But there is still no comprehensive evidence on older persons’ awareness, attitudes and behaviours with regard to advance directives in Switzerland.

External validation of the 80+ score and comparison with three clinical scores identifying patients at least 75 years old at risk of unplanned readmission within 30 days after discharge

Original article
Schwab C, Le Moigne A, Fernandez C, Durieux P, Sabatier B, Korb-Savoldelli V
Swiss Med Wkly. 2018;148:w14624

A potentially avoidable readmission is an unplanned readmission occurring within 30 days of discharge. As 20% of hospitalised elderly patients are rehospitalised as an unplanned readmission, it is necessary to identify those at risk.

A mini-overview of single muscle fibre mechanics: the effects of age, inactivity and exercise in animals and humans

Review article: Biomedical intelligence
Jee H, Kim JH
Swiss Med Wkly. 2017;147:w14488

Muscle weakness and loss of muscle mass are important social issues in an aging population. One of the safest and most effective ways to delay and prevent the negative effects of aging and inactivity is physical exercise.

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