ELDERLY AND GERIATRIC EXPERTISE
ANCHOR LEAD: OLDER PEOPLE NEED TO BE EVALUATED BY PROVIDERS WITH GERIATRIC EXPERTISE WHEN THEY COME TO THE ED, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
Emergency department visits are especially problematic for the elderly, many studies have shown, with a recent European study concluding that when older folks are evaluated by someone with expertise in geriatrics, outcomes are improved. Michelle Bellantoni, a geriatrics expert at Johns Hopkins, comments.
BELLANTONI: What this article showed is the importance of having a medical provider trained in geriatric syndromes to evaluate the patient, and with that provider an allied medical provider who can assess the physical function, both a physical therapist/occupational therapist, and a social worker who can assess the home environment to determine whether that patient can, in fact, return home safely after that emergency room visit or an alternative place for health care is needed. :29
Bellantoni says family members or friends can advocate for more thorough evaluation of elderly patients, but that reimbursement and access to such care providers remains an issue. I’m Elizabeth Tracey reporting.