This speciality is led by geriatricians, doctors with expertise in addressing the unique and often complex health issues associated with ageing. Their core objective is to enhance the functionality and enrich the quality of life for older adults by addressing medical, functional, psychological, and social aspects.
Geriatricians are known for their team-oriented approach. They collaborate closely with other healthcare professionals, caregivers, and family members to deliver comprehensive, multidisciplinary care to the elderly.
What Are The Unique Health Challenges Of The Elderly?
Ageing often brings a host of specific health issues known as geriatric syndromes. These syndromes can have multiple causes and can impact various body systems. Frequent geriatric syndromes include falls, cognitive impairment and delirium, depression, polypharmacy (using several medications simultaneously), and urinary incontinence.
The intricate health concerns of the elderly require the attention of specialist geriatric doctors. While a diverse range of professionals contribute to elder care, geriatricians often lead the team, particularly for patients with frailty and complex long-term conditions.
What Does A Geriatrician Do?
A geriatrician is a medical doctor specialising in elderly care. They have specific skills in diagnosing, preventing, and treating diseases and disabilities that occur in the later stages of life. Geriatricians often come from a background in internal medicine or family medicine, with additional certification and training in geriatric medicine.
General practitioners cater to the needs of elderly patients, but when older individuals face severe health issues, the expertise of a geriatrician becomes invaluable. Conditions that cause dependence and put strain on caregivers or family members necessitate a geriatrician's holistic, multidisciplinary care approach.
Geriatricians typically work with a wide range of healthcare professionals including nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, social workers, dieticians, geriatric psychiatrists, and pharmacists. This healthcare team focuses on various aspects of an elderly person's life, including social support, lifestyle, and community involvement.
Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment: A Thorough Approach
Armed with a comprehensive understanding of the medical, psychological, and social issues faced by elderly individuals, geriatricians offer in-depth medical care. This often starts with a comprehensive geriatric assessment.
This assessment is a thorough evaluation of an older adult, encompassing multiple dimensions and disciplines. Geriatricians often work as part of a team, involving other professionals such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and speech therapists as needed. The information collected is then used to create long-term treatment plans and identify solutions for complex patient needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Dementia is a broad term for a collection of diseases that affect memory, thinking, and the ability to perform everyday activities.
Individuals aged 65 and over, particularly those experiencing frailty or impairment, should consider consulting with a geriatric doctor.
Geriatricians frequently work with nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, social workers, dieticians, geriatric psychiatrists, and pharmacists to provide comprehensive elderly care.
Geriatricians handle a range of health issues, including falls, pain, incontinence, depression, memory loss, and medication side effects. They also assist elderly individuals with daily life challenges, such as meal preparation, eating, bathing, and dressing. Medical conditions they commonly manage include Alzheimer's disease, various types of cancer, diabetes, dementia, epilepsy, heart disease, osteoporosis, Parkinson's disease, stroke, and sleep disorders.