Geriatric Medicine (Medicine for the Elderly) is a specialised branch of Medicine providing health care solutions to individuals aged 65 years or older for their unique & complex health needs.
Older people generally suffer from multiple medical conditions and are frailer with limited functional reserve. Typical signs and symptoms of disease are often hidden.
This makes disease presentations quite varied, complex and difficult to diagnose. Even if reasonably fit and independent; elderly patients might decondition rapidly after acute medical illnesses or surgery leading to functional and cognitive decline. In addition, elders are very prone to get adverse effects from medications. If admitted to hospital as inpatients, they have a high risk of complications.
Medical problems among seniors may manifest broadly as geriatric giant syndromes such as confusion, immobility, postural instability, falls and incontinence. Common conditions include; Dementia, Delirium, Sarcopenia (muscle and weight loss), Frailty, Hypertension, Depression, Heart failure, Falls, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, inability to cope.
Geriatricians have expertise in dealing with complex medical problems in the elderly. They offer specialist & comprehensive geriatric assessments (CGAs) and formulate individualized patient-centred management plans with preventative strategies for cognitive decline, falls and delirium. Their timely intervention helps with hospital admission avoidance. Older people who receive CGA rather than routine medical care after admission to hospital are more likely to be living at home and less likely to be admitted to a nursing home.
After acute medical and surgical treatment, geriatricians provide individualised acute rehabilitation plan with timely discharge planning to patient’s own familiar surroundings which avoid institutionalization.
The key factor in successful outcomes is their ability to evaluate the patient as a whole person, not simply his or her organ systems. They work closely with patients, families, carers, social workers and multidisciplinary colleagues towards the goal of keeping elderly patients functioning independently, preserving their individual lifestyle, dignity and self- respect as long as feasible through shared decision making.
If patients are too frail for invasive investigations and interventions, geriatric physicians help with pragmatic anticipatory plans including palliation to avoid futile treatment to alleviate patient sufferings.
Holistic assessments consider the patient’s thorough medical history including physical, functional and psychosocial aspects, frailty work up, medication reviews, full clinical examination, investigation and management plans. Suitable for patients suffering from multiple clinical problems and chronic disease conditions.
Additional specialist clinics provided by our Geriatricians:
- Perioperative clinics. These will assess a patient’s fitness for surgery and pre-emptive medical plan/s strategies towards reducing surgical complications including early rehabilitation plans after surgery.
- Family/ Carer clinics: Are you a family member, next of kin, or a carer providing care to the frail and elderly and struggling to cope with the care strategies? Want to know more about loved one’s medical conditions? Advice/ counselling available dependent upon consent and confidentiality clauses.