J Clin Outcomes Manage
Assessment of decision-making capacity in the elderly hospitalized patient
Misra S, Snyder KM
Abstract Objective: To provide an overview of the concept of medical decision-making capacity and the standards for its assessment. Methods: Review of the literature in the context of a clinical case. Results: The ability to participate in decisions about one’s own medical care is fundamental to personal autonomy. However, transient or progressive cognitive impairment in the hospital setting can place elderly patients at risk for impaired decision-making abilities. Structured capacity assessments of cognitively impaired elderly can identify deficits in decisional abilities and opportunities for optimizing patient participation, either through direct participation or the use of a surrogate. Conclusion: Clinicians in the hospital setting should strive to incorporate structured capacity assessments in their routine clinical practice.
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