, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 212-221
Date: 25 Jul 2013

Multidimensional health assessment of 75- and 80-year-old men and women: A five-year prospective study

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Background and aims: There are no earlier reports of regular multidimensional health check programs in elderly people. The aim of this study was to establish the number and type of previously unrecognized health conditions in two cohorts of elderly people examined twice during a 5-year period, and to determine how these conditions were subsequently evaluated and treated. Methods: This population-based study, carried out at a university research center in Finland, consisted of a multidimensional and multiphased health assessment including interviews, health questionnaires and medical examinations and tests, and follow-up of subsequent examinations and treatment. Participants were all 75- (N=388) and 80-year-old (N=291) people residing in the city of Jyväskylä in 1989 and 1990 respectively. Results: A total of 780 health assessments were carried out, 500 at baseline and 280 five years later. Large numbers of previously unrecognized conditions were found on both occasions, ranging from tumors to impacted cerumen. At baseline, 180 persons (36% of those assessed) were referred for further examinations or treatment, at follow-up 127 (4:5%). Half of the referred persons received treatment, 13–39% were evaluated but not treated. For 12–33%, no information was obtained on post-hoc events. Conclusions: Comprehensive health assessments in older people reveal a large number of previously unrecognized conditions that require further examination and/or treatment, suggesting the need for systematic and regular assessments of health and functional capacity.