More than one in three general practice patient encounters are with older people aged 65 years and over, and general practitioners (GPs) are increasingly seeing more older people in their practice. The number of older people aged 65 years and over in Australia is projected to more than double in coming years.
The care of older people, whether living in the community or residential aged care facilities (RACFs), is often complex. The challenge is to provide appropriate care of the highest quality to these patients regardless of where they live. GPs are often required to collaborate with the patient’s broader multidisciplinary healthcare team, including RACF staff, carers, nurses, other specialist medical practitioners, and allied health professionals, in a way that focuses on the patient’s individual needs.
Medical care of older persons in residential aged care facilities, a Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) publication commonly known as the Silver Book, is one of the RACGP’s flagship clinical resources. First developed more than 20 years ago as a brief manual of 17 pages, there have been four editions to date. While the resource doubled in size from the third to fourth editions, much of the content is now out of date or obsolete.
This fifth edition builds on the remarkable foundation set by the previous four editions, and is retitled the RACGP aged care clinical guide (Silver Book) to reflect the increasing prevalence of older people choosing to live their old age in the community, or remaining in the community for longer.
The fifth edition of the Silver Book will be significantly expanded from previous editions, both in scope and content, and will be released online in three interweaving parts:
- Part A: Common clinical conditions in aged care (October 2019)
- Part B: General approaches to aged care (early-to-mid 2020)
- Part C: Organisational approaches to aged care (mid-to-late 2020)
The guide will be released online only to ensure regular updates can be undertaken and the information can remain up to date and relevant for GPs.