The present study takes place within a geriatric program, aiming at improving the diagnosis and management of geriatric syndromes in primary care. Within this program it was of prime importance to be able to rely on a robust and reproducible geriatric consultation to use as a gold standard for evaluating a primary care brief assessment tool. The specific objective of the present study was thus assessing the agreement and reliability of a comprehensive geriatric consultation.
The study was conducted at the outpatient clinic of the Service of Geriatric Medicine, University of Lausanne, Switzerland. All community-dwelling older persons aged 70 years and above were eligible. Patients were excluded if they hadn't a primary care physician, they were unable to speak French, or they were already assessed by a geriatrician within the last 12 months. A set of 9 geriatricians evaluated 20 patients. Each patient was assessed twice within a 2-month delay. Geriatric consultations were based on a structured evaluation process, leading to rating the following geriatric conditions: functional, cognitive, visual, and hearing impairment, mood disorders, risk of fall, osteoporosis, malnutrition, and urinary incontinence. Reliability and agreement estimates on each of these items were obtained using a three-way Intraclass Correlation and a three-way Observed Disagreement index. The latter allowed a decomposition of overall disagreement into disagreements due to each source of error variability (visit, rater and random).
Agreement ranged between 0.62 and 0.85. For most domains, geriatrician-related error variability explained an important proportion of disagreement. Reliability ranged between 0 and 0.8. It was poor/moderate for visual impairment, malnutrition and risk of fall, and good/excellent for functional/cognitive/hearing impairment, osteoporosis, incontinence and mood disorders.
Six out of nine items of the geriatric consultation described in this study (functional/cognitive/hearing impairment, osteoporosis, incontinence and mood disorders) present a good to excellent reliability and can safely be used as a reference (gold standard) to evaluate the diagnostic performance of a primary care brief assessment tool. More objective/significant measures are needed to improve reliability of malnutrition, visual impairment, and risk of fall assessment before they can serve as a safe gold standard of a primary care tool.
BMC geriatrics. 2017 Jul 19*** epublish ***
Isabella Locatelli, Stéfanie Monod, Jacques Cornuz, Christophe J Büla, Nicolas Senn
Department of Ambulatory Care and Community Medicine, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland. ., Public Health Office, Canton de Vaud, Lausanne, Switzerland., Department of Ambulatory Care and Community Medicine, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland., Service of Geriatric Medicine & Geriatric Rehabilitation, University of Lausanne Hospital Center, Lausanne, Switzerland., Institute of family medicine, Department of ambulatory care and community medicine, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland.