Do you or a family member need a 75 year old or over health check?
People aged 75 years and over, or 55 years and over for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who are living in the community are eligible to a health assessment.
This age represents the time at which people are most likely to experience the greatest levels of disability and ill health.
It’s a way to inform your GP of risks and hazards in elderly patients which may require further health management. In addition to assessing a person’s health status, a health assessment is also used to identify a range of factors that influence a person’s physical function, psychological function and social function.
A list of your medications will be documented. This includes all tablets, puffers, drops, creams and vitamins you take.
You will also need to tell the nurse how frequently you are prescribed to take the medications and how frequently you actually take them.
Your blood pressure and pulse will tell the Doctor if there are any irregularities which the Doctor needs to follow up on. Continence problems are often under reported and a major cause of reduced quality of life in this age group. A follow up appointment may be required to arrange either pathology tests and arrange management of this condition. An annual ECG will also be required.
Assessment of daily living is concerned with the patient and their environment. The patient’s ability to transfer between the bed, chair and toilet. Also their ability to dress, bathe, prepare food and eat should be assessed. Other inclusions are use of the telephone, shopping, banking, reading books, watching the television or listening to the radio and looking after the house cleaning. It is also important to assess if there have been any falls in the last three months. A recent fall is a strong predictor of a future fall related injury.
Unrecognised dementia is common in this age group. Detailed diagnosis can often improve quality of life. Assessment should also include enquires about depression, and the use of a formal depression scale may be used.
Information will be gathered as to what is the availability and the adequacy of paid and unpaid help when needed and wanted by the patient. People’s social networks tend to become smaller as they age and therefore the role of formal services may need to increase accordingly. If you are caring for another person your assessment should include an evaluation of the effect this role has on your health and functioning. As a result information should be made to you on local carer support services, including regular and respite services.
If the you have a carer, then with your permission, it may be useful to have your carer present to give information on your medication usage and compliance, continence and physical, psychological and social functions. Other matters relevant to the patient may also be covered in the assessment. These include fitness to drive, hearing, vision, oral health, diet and nutritional status, smoking, foot care, sleep, need for community services, home safety, cardiovascular risk factors including blood pressure and alcohol use.
The Commonwealth Government has developed an annual Health Assessment for those people aged 75 years and over. This initiative is covered by Medicare Australia so there is no cost to the patient.