[Assessment instruments in frail older patients; a call for more standardisation]

Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2019 Nov 12:163:D3267.
[Article in Dutch]


Objective: To determine the frequency and background of the use of assessment instruments for the Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment by clinical geriatricians and internists in geriatric medicine; the secondary aim was to make an inventory of the willingness to standardise the assessment instruments used.

Design: A descriptive questionnaire study.

Method: In December 2016, we sent out a digital questionnaire (Survey Monkey) to all the hospitals in the Netherlands. Respondents were asked which instruments they used for specific domains of the Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment, what their choice of instruments was based on, if these instruments had added value, and if they were prepared to change the instruments they used.

Results: We received 66 responses (response: 82%). The most frequently-used instruments were: Mini Mental State Examination in combination with the clock drawing test (21%), Geriatric Depression Scale-15 (45%), Katz Index of Independence in Activities of Daily Living-6 (75%), Lawton and Brody (48%), Mini Nutritional Assessment(-short form) (outpatient; 56%) and Short Nutritional Assessment Questionnaire (inpatient: 36%), Experienced Burden Informal Care (46%), Charlson Comorbidity Index (35%), Timed Up and Go (76%), and the Safety Management System (VMS) fall risk question (21%). The most frequently used instruments were used in a large number of hospitals (35-97%).The variation of tests was the greatest in the domains of cognition, malnutrition, and mobility/physical functioning. Many respondents saw the added value of a consensus set of instruments (median: 70%; interquartile range (IQR): 50-86), and most were willing to change the instruments they use (median: 80%; IQR: 65-90).

Conclusion: This inventory shows that the instruments used in most domains were reasonably uniform. Taking the willingness to change into account, a national set of basis instruments seems to be an achievable aim.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Frail Elderly*
  • Geriatric Assessment / methods*
  • Geriatricians*
  • Humans
  • Netherlands
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires