Optimizing medical care for geriatric patients in Austria: defining a top five list of "Choosing Wisely" recommendations using the Delphi technique

Eur Geriatr Med. 2018;9(6):783-793. doi: 10.1007/s41999-018-0105-8. Epub 2018 Sep 27.


Purpose: Inappropriate use of diagnostic and therapeutic medical procedures is common and potentially harmful for older patients. The Austrian Society of Geriatrics and Gerontology defined a consensus of five recommendations to avoid overuse of medical interventions and to improve care of geriatric patients.

Methods: From an initial pool of 147 reliable recommendations, 20 were chosen by a structured selection process for inclusion in a Delphi process to define a list of five top recommendations for geriatric medicine. 12 experts in the field of geriatric medicine scored the recommendations in two Delphi rounds.

Results: The final five recommendations are concerning urinary catheters in elderly patients, percutaneous feeding tubes in patients with advanced dementia, antipsychotics as the first choice to treat behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia, and screening for breast, colorectal, prostate, or lung cancer, and the use of antimicrobials to treat asymptomatic bacteriuria.

Conclusions: The selected recommendations have the potential to improve medical care for older patients, to reduce side effects caused by unnecessary medical procedures, and to save costs in the health care system.

Keywords: Choosing Wisely; Consensus; Delphi process; Geriatric medicine; Recommendations.