As people age, finding coordinated medical care can be difficult. It’s not uncommon for an elderly adult to be prescribed multiple medications and treatments by different specialists. There is where a geriatric consultation can help, someone who can look at the big picture.
Gilchrist geriatrician Anna Monias, MD, answers questions about how a geriatric consultation can help older adults with serious illness improve their quality of life.
Why do aging adults need a geriatric specialist?
As people age, diseases and their symptoms are less likely to respond to typical treatments. General practitioners may not have expertise in disease progression in older adults, or the time required to address multiple medical problems. As a result, they may not account for the possibly harmful effects on an elderly, frail patient when recommending surgery or complex medical treatments. Our Gilchrist geriatricians are experts in these aspects of care for aging adults. And we spend more than an hour with each patient and family to ensure a thorough assessment.
What does a geriatric consultation provide?
In the consultation, our geriatricians and nurse practitioners provide a comprehensive health assessment and a personalized care plan based on the patient’s needs and goals of care. Once the assessment and plan of care is complete, we work with the patient’s primary care doctor. We also offer coordinated referrals to community physicians to help ensure seamless care.
Who can benefit from a geriatric consultation?
Older adults who have experienced multiple chronic illnesses or any of the following medical problems may benefit:
- Multiple falls
- Memory or mood problems
- Needing assistance with dressing, bathing and other daily activities
- Currently taking more than eight medications
- Medical conditions causing impairment or frailty
- Three or more emergency room visits or hospital stays within the past year
My parent is taking multiple medications prescribed by different specialists, but no one seems to be looking at their overall effect. Is that addressed in the geriatric consultation?
Yes. Gilchrist geriatricians assess the combined effect of medications and interventions on the individual’s overall function, and whether or not they are beneficial. As people age, the body’s ability to metabolize medicine changes and they may need reduced doses. Often, we find that medications a person has taken for many years are no longer working and can be tapered or stopped.
Can the geriatric consultation help caregivers?
Yes, caregivers often find the consultation helpful in understanding what they can do for the older patient and what they may need help with. The geriatrician can also answer questions and provide education on what to expect as the disease progresses.
What if I have questions after the consultation?
Once the assessment is completed, you will have access to Gilchrist’s 24/7 on-call support line, staffed by nurses. You may also call a Gilchrist geriatrician for follow-up.
Where do you see patients?
We provide consultations at our offices in Cockeysville, Md.
Is there a waiting time to schedule an appointment?
We offer easy access and rapid appointments with physicians who have expertise in caring for aging adults with multiple medical problems.
To learn more, call Gilchrist at 888.823.8880 or visit gilchristcares.org/emc-consults.