>75 Health Assessments

A health assessment of an older person is an in-depth assessment of a patient aged 75 years and over. It provides a structured way of identifying health issues and conditions that are potentially preventable or amenable to interventions in order to improve health and/or quality of life.

The purpose of this health assessment is to help identify any risk factors exhibited by an elderly patient that may require further health management. In addition to assessing a person’s health status, a health assessment is used to identify a broad range of factors that influence a person’s physical, psychological and social functioning.

Components of a health assessment for a person aged 75 years and older

The health assessment must include:

  • information collection, including taking a patient history and undertaking or arranging examinations and investigations as required;
  • making an overall assessment of the patient;
  • recommending appropriate interventions;
  • providing advice and information to the patient;
  • keeping a record of the health assessment, and offering the patient a written report about the health assessment, with recommendations about matters covered by the health assessment; and
  • offering the patient’s carer (if any, and if the medical practitioner considers it appropriate and the patient agrees) a copy of the report or extracts of the report relevant to the carer.

Specific components of the health assessment for older people include:

  • measurement of the patient’s blood pressure, pulse rate and rhythm;
  • an assessment of the patient’s medication;
  • an assessment of the patient’s continence;
  • an assessment of the patient’s immunisation status for influenza, tetanus and pneumococcus;
  • an assessment of the patient’s physical function, including the patient’s activities of daily living, and whether or not the patient has had a fall in the last 3 months;
  • an assessment of the patient’s psychological function, including the patient’s cognition and mood; and
  • an assessment of the patient’s social function, including the availability and adequacy of paid and unpaid help, and whether the patient is responsible for caring for another person.

The health professional undertaking the health assessment may also consider:

  • any need the patient may have for community services;
  • whether the patient is socially isolated;
  • the patient’s oral health and dentition; and
  • the patient’s nutrition status.