Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
. 2020 May 6.
doi: 10.1111/jgs.16537. Online ahead of print.

AGS Position Statement: Resource Allocation Strategies and Age-Related Considerations in the COVID-19 Era and Beyond


AGS Position Statement: Resource Allocation Strategies and Age-Related Considerations in the COVID-19 Era and Beyond

Timothy W Farrell et al. J Am Geriatr Soc. .


COVID-19 continues to impact older adults disproportionately, from severe illness and hospitalization to increased mortality risk. Concurrently, concerns about potential shortages of healthcare professionals and health supplies to address these needs have focused attention on how resources are ultimately allocated and used. Some strategies misguidedly use age as an arbitrary criterion, which inappropriately disfavors older adults. This statement represents the official policy position of the American Geriatrics Society (AGS). It is intended to inform stakeholders including hospitals, health systems, and policymakers about ethical considerations to consider when developing strategies for allocating scarce resources during an emergency involving older adults. Members of the AGS Ethics Committee collaborated with interprofessional experts in ethics, law, nursing, and medicine (including geriatrics, palliative care, emergency medicine, and pulmonology/critical care) to conduct a structured literature review and examine relevant reports. The resulting recommendations defend a particular view of distributive justice that maximizes relevant clinical factors and de-emphasizes or eliminates factors placing arbitrary, disproportionate weight on advanced age. The AGS positions include: (1) avoiding age per se as a means for excluding anyone from care; (2) assessing comorbidities and considering the disparate impact of social determinants of health; (3) encouraging decision makers to focus primarily on potential short-term (not long-term) outcomes; (4) avoiding ancillary criteria such as "life-years saved" and "long-term predicted life expectancy" that might disadvantage older people; (5) forming and staffing triage committees tasked with allocating scarce resources; (6) developing institutional resource allocation strategies that are transparent and applied uniformly; and (7) facilitating appropriate advance care planning. The statement includes recommendations that should be immediately implemented to address resource allocation strategies during COVID-19, aligning with AGS positions. The statement also includes recommendations for post-pandemic review. Such review would support revised strategies to ensure that governments and institutions have equitable emergency resource allocation strategies, avoid future discriminatory language and practice, and have appropriate guidance to develop national frameworks for emergent resource allocation decisions.

Similar articles

  • Rationing Limited Health Care Resources in the COVID-19 Era and Beyond: Ethical Considerations Regarding Older Adults.
    Farrell TW, Francis L, Brown T, Ferrante LE, Widera E, Rhodes R, Rosen T, Hwang U, Witt LJ, Thothala N, Liu SW, Vitale CA, Braun UK, Stephens C, Saliba D. Farrell TW, et al. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2020 May 6. doi: 10.1111/jgs.16539. Online ahead of print. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2020. PMID: 32374466
  • Allocation of scarce resources during mass casualty events.
    Timbie JW, Ringel JS, Fox DS, Waxman DA, Pillemer F, Carey C, Moore M, Karir V, Johnson TJ, Iyer N, Hu J, Shanman R, Larkin JW, Timmer M, Motala A, Perry TR, Newberry S, Kellermann AL. Timbie JW, et al. Evid Rep Technol Assess (Full Rep). 2012 Jun;(207):1-305. Evid Rep Technol Assess (Full Rep). 2012. PMID: 24422904 Free PMC article. Review.
  • Critical Care Network in the State of Qatar.
    Hijjeh M, Al Shaikh L, Alinier G, Selwood D, Malmstrom F, Hassan IF. Hijjeh M, et al. Qatar Med J. 2019 Nov 7;2019(2):2. doi: 10.5339/qmj.2019.qccc.2. eCollection 2019. Qatar Med J. 2019. PMID: 31763205 Free PMC article.
  • Ethical issues in pediatric emergency mass critical care.
    Antommaria AH, Powell T, Miller JE, Christian MD; Task Force for Pediatric Emergency Mass Critical Care. Antommaria AH, et al. Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2011 Nov;12(6 Suppl):S163-8. doi: 10.1097/PCC.0b013e318234a88b. Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2011. PMID: 22067926
  • Medical Error Prevention.
    Rodziewicz TL, Hipskind JE. Rodziewicz TL, et al. 2020 Feb 5. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan–. StatPearls. 2020 Jan–. PMID: 29763131 Free Books & Documents. Review.
See all similar articles

LinkOut - more resources