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Introduction: The clinical pathway (CP) is one of the most recommended tools for ensuring the best quality of care and has been proven to reduce the cost and time spent in hospital. The development of a CP for influenza is crucial, especially for the elderly, as they are vulnerable to influenza-related complications. The main aim of this study was to provide a comprehensive protocol for each component of influenza management among the elderly in Malaysia.
Methods: An expert group meeting was conducted involving family medicine specialists, public health specialists, geriatricians, respiratory physicians and infectious disease physicians. The CP was designed following a 6-step protocol: 1) Selection of expert panel, 2) discussion and information gathering, 3) development of CP draft, 4) refinement of CP draft, 5) implementation of CP, and 6) finalisation of CP. The CP for influenza was designed based on service type and disease severity.
Results: The panel described both outpatient and inpatient CPs for managing elderly patients with influenza. The outpatient CP covered mild and moderate influenza cases, while the inpatient CP addressed the management of moderate and severe influenza. The estimated length of hospital stay for moderate and severe influenza cases with pneumonia was 6 and 14 days, respectively.
Conclusions: The CP for influenza supports existing treatment according to illness severity leveraged on current clinical practice guidelines and the best-care practices in primary and tertiary care settings. Continuous use of the CP is required to assess its effectiveness, thereby enabling optimisation of the healthcare process in influenza treatment.
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