Comprehensive care for older adults – Exploring professional geriatric assessments

Comprehensive care for older adults – Exploring professional geriatric assessments

A person’s healthcare needs often become more complex as they age. Care that is comprehensive and specialized is essential to ensuring older adults’ well-being. Professional geriatric assessments play a crucial role in evaluating and addressing the unique healthcare needs of older adults.  Professional geriatric assessments include a thorough evaluation of physical function to assess mobility, strength, balance, and overall independence. Through various tests and measurements, healthcare professionals identify any physical limitations or areas of concern that impact older adults’ ability to perform daily activities. The assessment results inform personalized interventions and care plans aimed at improving or maintaining physical function and independence.

Professionals use standardized tests to assess memory, attention, language, and cognitive domains. Identifying any cognitive challenges or changes allows for early detection of cognitive impairment or dementia and facilitates appropriate interventions and support. They include a review of medication regimens to ensure safe and effective medication use. Healthcare professionals assess medication adherence, potential interactions, and the appropriateness of prescribed medications for older adults. They collaborate with healthcare providers to optimize medication management, minimize side effects, and improve overall medication safety. Mental health is an integral part of comprehensive care for older adults, and professional geriatric assessments include mental health screening. Depression and anxiety are screened for during a mental health assessment. Promoting older adults’ health and well-being requires addressing their mental health needs.

Social support and resources

professional geriatric assessments in Ontario consider the social support and resources available to older adults. Healthcare professionals assess the individual’s social network, community involvement, and access to supportive services. They identify any gaps in social support and provide referrals to appropriate resources and programs that enhance the older adult’s quality of life and overall well-being. Assessments of professional geriatrics focus on activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs). ADLs include tasks such as bathing, dressing, and eating, while IADLs encompass activities such as managing finances, using transportation, and meal preparation. By assessing an older adult’s ability to perform these essential tasks, healthcare professionals identify areas where assistance or support is required and develop appropriate care plans. Falls are a significant concern for older adults and lead to serious injuries and decreased independence.

Addressing end-of-life preferences

Professional geriatric assessments also involve discussions about advanced care planning. Healthcare professionals engage older adults in conversations about their preferences for medical treatment, end-of-life care, and the appointment of healthcare proxies. These discussions ensure that older adults’ wishes are known and respected, providing them and their families with peace of mind and ensuring their healthcare decisions align with their values and goals. Professional geriatric assessments promote care coordination and collaboration among healthcare providers. By sharing assessment findings and care plans, healthcare professionals ensure that older adults receive coordinated and comprehensive care across different healthcare settings. This collaborative approach enhances continuity of care, reduces fragmented services, and improves outcomes for older adults.