What is a Geriatric Specialist and who needs one?
Quotes from Elizabeth Landsverk, MD (Adjunct Clinical Professor, Stanford University School of Medicine California)
- We are living longer
- The longer we live, the more likely we are to be dealing with multiple medical conditions
- A Geriatrician is an expert in the medical conditions that are common in elders as well as the factors that may complicate care e.g. depression, memory problems, frailty and the side effects of multiple medications
- Geriatricians are more likely to discuss end-of-life issues with patients and families and can help evaluate and make decisions about living situations, understanding the often subtle needs of an elder.
- In general, the more complicated the care needed, particularly if the patient’s independence is threatened, the more likely it is that consulting a geriatric specialist will simplify and improve the situation for the patient and family.
When is it best to consult a Geriatric Specialist?
- When the patient is significantly frail or impaired, which is most likely in those with multiple disabilities or diseases, including cognitive problems.
- When caring for the patient is causing a deal of stress and strain for family and friends.
- When the complexity of dealing with multiple treatments and multiple healthcare professionals is too much for the patient and family.
- Also, for a good overall check for older individuals for function, strength, screening for cognitive problems and decline in independence and financial capacity.