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Reasons for elderly patients GP visits: results of a cross-sectional study

Authors Frese T, Mahlmeister J, Deutsch T, Sandholzer H

Received 11 May 2015

Accepted for publication 11 September 2015

Published 4 February 2016 Volume 2016:11 Pages 127—132


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Walker

Thomas Frese, Jarmila Mahlmeister, Tobias Deutsch, Hagen Sandholzer

Department of General Practice, Medical Faculty, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany

Objective: The aim of this study is to describe the frequency of reasons for elderly patients visits to a general practice (GP) setting.
Subjects and methods: Cross-sectional data from 8,877 randomly selected patients were assessed during a 1-year period by 209 GPs in the German federal state of Saxony. The reasons for visits, performed procedures, and results of visits were documented. In this study, the data of patients aged 65 years and older are analyzed and the procedural and nonprocedural reasons for visits are described.
Results: In all, 2,866 patients aged 65 years and older were included. The majority of patients (1,807) were female. A total of 4,426 reasons for visits were found, distributed on 363 International Classification of Primary Care-2 codes. In the mean, there were 1.5 reasons for a GP visit from each patient. The top five nonprocedural reasons for visiting the GP were: cough (1.8%), back complaints (1.6%), shoulder complaints (1.3%), knee complaints (1.1%), and dyspnea (1.0% of all reasons for visit). The top five procedural reasons for visiting the GP included follow-up investigations of cardiovascular or endocrine disorders and immunizations. The top 30 nonprocedural reasons for visits covered 21.9% of all reasons for visiting. The top 30 procedural reasons covered 54.3% of all reasons for visits.
The current work indicates that people aged 65 years and older consult the GP more frequently for procedural than for nonprocedural reasons. The top 30 procedural and nonprocedural reasons for visits cover ~75% of all reasons for visits in these patients.

Keywords: elderly, geriatric, general practice, primary care, reason for visit, reason for consultation

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