Call To Action

AARP/ASA Call to Action

On June 20 – 21, 2018, representatives from multiple perioperative stakeholder groups, including physicians and scientists met at the AARP Hatchery for the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) and AARP Summit with the long-term goal of promoting brain health before, during and after surgery. Based upon the meeting and discussions, the undersigned organizations have agreed to promote the following to patients, providers, hospitals, regulatory agencies and funders.

  1. Improved communication with older patients regarding the risks of delayed neurocognitive recovery after surgery, including consideration of incorporating postoperative delirium and short-term cognitive disorders, as part of the informed consent process. This will include educational materials on strategies to reduce the risks of delirium and improve recovery, such as orientation, mobilization, sleep hygiene and nutrition.
  2. Providing patient-oriented strategies to reduce delirium in the hospital. These strategies include bringing devices such as hearing aids, glasses and dentures to the hospital and promoting activities which orient patients within the hospital, such as inclusion of family members in the care team. These strategies may also include activities which promote healthy living before surgery as above (sleep aides, exercise, nutrition).
  3. Promote awareness of best practices for brain health around the time of surgery. Guidelines produced by the American College of Surgeons in collaboration with the American Geriatrics Society for the Optimal Perioperative Management of the Geriatric Patient and by the American Geriatric Society for the management of delirium provide excellent summaries of evidence and expert – based practice recommendations.
  4. Provider and hospital facing campaign should be initiated to ensure that hospitals have protocols to optimally care for older patients undergoing surgery.
  5. Educating caregivers about signs and symptoms of delirium and cognitive difficulties to look for after surgery and how to ask for help and followup as part of discharge instructions and a national public relations campaign.
  6. Ensure relevant sources of information such as the ASA Perioperative Brain Health Initiative website are publicized and interconnect with other available resources to provide easy access for all interested parties.
  7. Develop a strategy to educate funders of the implications of delayed cognitive recovery after surgery and the need to fund research into the underlying mechanism and treatment options.

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Attendee Summary
View the 2018 ASA/AARP Perioperative Brain Health Initiative Summit attendee summary