Ideally, seniors would receive health care by visiting a geriatrician, in reality, few MDs are entering the gerontology field. The fact remains, however, that these seniors will need access to health care providers. Keeping in mind that according to the United States Census Bureau there will be over 60 million Americans who are 65 and older in 2025, the necessity for healthcare professionals to be familiar with geriatric health issues is paramount. In a 2015 New York Times article, “An Aging Population Without the Doctors to Match”, Marcy Cottrell Houle reported, “Currently, 97 percent of all medical students in the United States do not take a single course in geriatrics.” EVMS through its CareForward Curriculum introduces all of our first-year medical students to geriatric care. In the EVMS Magazine article, “As Time Goes By”, EVMS Charles F. Burroughs Jr. Endowed Professorial Chair in Family Medicine, Dr. Daniel Bluestein states, “We are teaching our new physicians and re-educating practicing clinicians that senior care is part of the core business of primary care.” In the same article Dr. Bluestein further shares, “…most people prefer to see the family doctor who has known them for years. That’s why it’s vital for primary-care physicians to learn how to care for senior patients.”
What seniors’ health issues will physicians see in their offices? Health issues run the gamut from heart disease and Alzheimer’s to the consequences of falls and even for some seniors, opioid addiction. According to Dr. Robert Palmer, EVMS Chair of Geriatrics and Director of the EVMS Glennan Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology, a geriatric assessment is appropriate for seniors suffering from a chronic health issue and facing two or more health challenges, as outlined in “When a Geriatric Assessment Can Help.” In the American Family Physician journal article, “The Geriatric Assessment,” we learn “The geriatric assessment is a multidimensional, multidisciplinary assessment designed to evaluate an older person’s functional ability, physical health, cognition and mental health, and socioenvironmental circumstances.”
Want to schedule a geriatric assessment? Call our EVMS Glennan Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology directly at (757) 446-7040 or have your health care provider contact the Glennan Center on your behalf. The Glennan Center will bill insurances accepted by the EVMS Medical Group.
To discover more about health issues and current data, search Eastern Virginia Medical School’s Edward E. Brickell Medical Sciences Library collections and databases by visiting the library’s website.
This blog is about consumer health topics of interest to the general public and a vehicle to promote the Edward E. Brickell Medical Sciences Library and library outreach events.
Ruth M. Smith, MLIS