The Geriatrician Difference
By Dr. Vernilyn N. Juan, Crescent City Physicians, LIVING WELL Magazine
Geriatrics differs from standard adult medicine. Geriatrics is a subspecialty of internal medicine and family medicine concerned specifically with the health and well-being of older adults. Geriatricians first complete their training in internal medicine or family medicine before spending additional time studying conditions specific to aging to become certified in geriatric medicine. The additional training includes the following:
– Geriatric assessment and rehabilitation
– Preventive medicine
– Management of patients in long-term care settings
– Psycho-social, ethical, legal and economic issues pertinent to geriatric patients
What geriatricians do?
Geriatricians distinguish between diseases and the effects of normal aging. They diagnose, treat and manage conditions and diseases that are more prevalent among older adults, including:
– Preoperative assessment
– Memory problems
– Sensory impairment
– Other cognitive and affective changes that occur with aging
Geriatricians also work closely with their elderly patients to pay specific attention to the different medications the patient may be taking to avoid any adverse drug reactions from taking multiple medications. Geriatricians also work with other subspecialties to coordinate the care of the patient.
When you need a geriatrician?
There is no set age at which a patient should begin seeing a geriatrician; rather this decision is determined by the individual patient’s needs, and the availability of a specialist. A geriatrician often begins working with a patient when they require special attention due to a problem associated with aging. In some cases, a patient’s family member might recognize the need and in other cases a primary care physician might refer their patient to a geriatric specialist.
Can your geriatrician be your primary physician?
Yes, in many cases geriatricians often become the primary care physician. Being trained as family medicine specialists licenses them to see and treat younger patients as well. However, in situations where the geriatrician is not serving as the primary physician, the geriatrician often works with other physicians advising them on their patient’s specific diagnosis or treatment plan.
Dr. Vernilyn N. Juan of Crescent City Physicians is a family/geriatric medicine specialist. For more information about her services, please call 504-897-8118.