24F9530D00000578-2923173-image-a-5_1422009787136A test to identify those elderly patients most at risk of dying within 30 days has been developed by doctors. They say the test will give people the chance to go home and spend time saying goodbye to loved ones, preventing them from enduring their last days in hospital.  The 29-point checklist will prevent futile and costly treatments that prolong the patient’s suffering and frustrate doctors, the researchers said. The test comprises a checklist of 29 predictors of health including age, frailty, the severity of their illness and mental impairment.  It also includes previous emergency admissions, treatment in the intensive care department, heart rate and protein in the urine (which is often a sign of kidney disease). From looking at these indicators doctors can produce a percentage chance of death between one month and 12 weeks.  Researchers say the aim of Critera for Screening and Triaging to Appropriate aLternative care – or CriSTAL for short – is to kick-start frank discussions about end of life care and prevent ineffective treatment. Dr Magnolia Cardona-Morrel, of the University of New South Wales, and the study’s lead author said: ‘Delaying unavoidable death contributes to unsustainable and escalating healthcare costs, despite aggressive and expensive interventions. ‘These interventions may not influence patient outcome; often do not improve the patient’s quality of life; may compromise bereavement outcomes for families; and cause frustration for health professionals. ‘Current hospital systems often fail to recognise or cater to the needs of people for whom death is imminent and unavoidable. More