Overview of Geriatric Care and Services
The Consortium on Aging, through its faculty and partners in the School of Medicine, School of Nursing, and Dental Branch, is committed to the provision of comprehensive, coordinated, interdisciplinary, and patient-centered services for elderly patients. Geriatric and palliative care services are offered by geriatricians and nurse practitioners in inpatient and outpatient settings as well as in the patients' homes.
- Why should I refer someone to a geriatric specialist?
- Who should be referred?
- Which program or setting best suits the needs of my patient and how do I make a referral to that program?
Caring for geriatric patients is challenging because of the complexity of chronic illnesses complicated by functional and cognitive impairments. Geriatricians and gerontological nurse practitioners are specially trained to diagnose and treat conditions that are common in elderly adults, including decreasing physical function, fluctuations in mood, sleep and appetite disorders, wounds, urinary tract disorders, and difficulty with memory. Geriatric specialists will help to choose care strategies that consider not only the medical complexities but also polypharmacy, psychosocial issues, and socioeconomic factors.
Patients over the age of 65 may benefit from the services of a geriatric specialist if they are frail or experience any of the following:
- Multiple health conditions or chronic illnesses, especially when they require multiple medications
- Memory impairments
- Behavioral or mood changes, such as depression or anxiety
- Problems with balance or gait and falls
- Inability to perform usual activities of daily living
- Difficulty sleeping
- Unexplained weight loss or appetite disorders
- Deconditioning following hospitalization
Patients may also benefit from geriatric specialty care if you think they may need community services in order to continue living independently or if they have end-of-life questions. Patients younger than 65 may also be referred, as necessary.