Geriatric Syndrome Screening: Implementing an Evidence-Based Process in Hospitalized Older Adults With Cancer

Sherry L. Rafters

Joan Schleper

Nancy Lean

Michael Hwang

Ashwin Rohra

Linda Lillington

geriatric syndromes, acute care, cancer, evidence-based practice
CJON 2021, 25(3), 297-304. DOI: 10.1188/21.CJON.297-304

Background: Oncology nurses are in a key position to screen patients for geriatric syndromes that can disproportionately affect older adults with cancer. Early recognition can promote informed decision-making, initiation of interventions, and tolerance of treatment.

Objectives: This study aimed to implement a nursing-sensitive screening process to identify types and frequency of geriatric syndromes in hospitalized older adult patients with cancer.

Methods: Nurses were trained to screen for geriatric syndromes using the SPICES tool (sleep disorders, problems with eating or feeding, incontinence, confusion, evidence of falls, and skin breakdown). The electronic health record was leveraged to facilitate documentation and provide a geriatric syndrome profile for each patient.

Findings: Results demonstrated ability of staff nurses to lead an evidence-based practice initiative and the challenges faced. Adherence to SPICES screening was 47%. About 80% of patients had two or more geriatric syndrome issues.

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