American College of Surgeons' new standards for geriatric patients: 4 things to know

The American College of Surgeons' Coalition for Quality in Geriatric Surgery will release a set of updated care standards next month after four years of research and planning, according to The New York Times.

Four things to know:

1. ACS is releasing the standards in response to the increased rate of elderly patients undergoing major surgeries. These patients face a higher risk of postsurgical complications, since they are often frail and have more chronic health issues than younger patients.

2. The medical group will unveil its geriatric surgery verification program next month at the ACS Quality and Safety Conference in Washington, D.C. The program will outline 30 standards to help hospitals improve surgical outcomes for older patients.

3. At present, eight hospitals are piloting the program. Hospitals can begin applying for the geriatric surgery verification program in October. ACS said it hopes to receive applications from 100 hospitals in the program's first year. Over 4,500 hospitals perform geriatric surgery nationwide.

4. The program's 30 care standards cover staffing suggestions, recommended surgical protocols and communication strategies. Providers must ensure that patients fully understand surgical risks and clearly communicate their wishes to family and caregivers.

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