Life expectancy has increased significantly in the last few decades. The trend is likely to persist in the coming years and life expectancy may well surpass 80 years in most countries of the world, including India. At a 1.0% annual increase, this is the fastest growing segment of the state’s population.
Our society is rapidly undergoing change. Families are becoming nuclear. The vast majority of the young are moving away in search of jobs and careers. These include women who were traditional caregivers to the elderly. We are now facing a situation where the elderly are increasing in numbers and living longer while the number of care givers is rapidly decreasing.
Geriatric care has to be necessarily holistic in approach involving multidisciplinary inputs. Diseases often manifest differently in the elderly and the approach to treatment differs considerably from the treatment in the young. There should also be a considerable emphasis on the preventive aspects. The need of the hour is to keep the elderly safe and healthy at home.
To meet this acute need of comprehensive geriatric care, CMC Vellore Chittoor campus hosts a separate Geriatric Department. Where necessary, specialists from various other departments in the hospital also participate in the medical and rehabilitative care of these patients.
During a patient consultation, the consultants interact with the patient and his/her caregivers and advise them on various aspect of eldercare. While investigating, diagnosing and treating specific diseases, the focus is always on the preservation of function and improving the quality of life. The Geriatrician addresses the patient's psychological, social and environmental issues as well as his/her medical problems and also frequently works with the family or caregivers who are assisting the older person.
In today’s high tech environment, another area of concern is medical decision making in elderly patients. What is appropriate and what is not? End of life issues are a major worry for the patient and relatives. The Geriatric team helps the patient and relatives make the right decision by educating them on the various options and consequences while taking into account patient autonomy (respecting the patient’s wishes).
- Comprehensive interdisciplinary assessment of the elderly
- Rationalize prescription
- Life style advice including diet and exercise programs
- Comprehensive preventive care
- Counseling to family members and caregivers on care of the elderly
- Comprehensive interdisciplinary inpatient care where required Subspecialty referral where required
- Consultation services for the elderly patients of other departments
- Help with medical decision making and end of life care
Geriatric ServicesAssessment of the older patient
- Comprehensive assessment of the patient and his/her support systems by geriatricians
- Investigations appropriate for the elderly and tailored to the particular patient. Preventive intervention
- Life style modification - Mental and physical activity, diet and fluid management, and social interaction.
- Assessment of metabolic and other parameters and correction to prevent future complications.
- Supplements as appropriate.
- Screening for certain common geriatric syndromes and cancers
- Vaccinations appropriate for the elderly.
- Regular follow up to reduce functional decline in the patient. Treatment interventions
- Diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of present illness.
- Identification of various associated problems and suitable interventions to improve quality of life and functional capacity, wherever possible.
- Diagnosis and regular follow up of chronic conditions.
- Optimization of treatment and medications to benefit the patient as a whole and minimize the possibility of adverse effects. Medical decision making
- Discussions regarding appropriateness of surgical and invasive procedures giving due consideration to the patient’s present condition and life expectancy.
- Planning in advance for medical interventions at end of life - particularly with regard to Intensive care and use of ventilators, so that patient’s wishes for the same are honored.
- Decisions regarding switching from aggressive curative care to comfort care in terminally ill patients. Comprehensive geriatric health checkup program (Geriatric Package)
- This program includes, Screening test for the functions of all major organs of the body.
- Vaccination against tetanus and pneumonia.
OUTPATIENT DEPARTMENT TIMINGS
MONDAY AND THURSDAY
8:00am to 4:30pm