What is a Geriatrician?

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What is a Geriatrician?

May 31, 2017

If you have a senior loved one in your life or are a senior yourself, you’re probably familiar with the word geriatrician. But in reality do you know what this term actually means?

A geriatrician is a fully trained physician specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, and care of seniors. In most cases, geriatricians are primary care physicians, board-certified in internal or family medicine. Before becoming a geriatrician, most complete a one-year, post-residency fellowship in the field of geriatrics. Geriatrics is the branch of medicine catering to older adults. Once the fellowship is completed, the geriatrician is ready to perform his or her primary role – enhancing the quality of life for seniors as they age. However, those physicians who went into the field prior to the development of formal training programs, had the ability to take a written test that demonstrated their knowledge in the field and get certified as a geriatrician.

Geriatricians play a major role in a senior's health and well-being, providing diagnosis and treatment to patients with complicated medical conditions. Seniors with age-related illnesses, disabilities, and/or prolonged use of prescription medication can greatly benefit from the carefully crafted care plans geriatricians create.

These specialists usually start with a complete assessment of each patient's physical, psychological, cognitive, and social function. Once the doctor is familiar with a senior’s health profile, he or she work closely with the entire care team to develop a comprehensive plan of care.

Geriatricians are ready and willing to provide their patients with information and insight to make tough decisions easier to navigate. They can also help to take the load off of family caregivers who are struggling with caring for a senior loved one at home. With a quick evaluation of the senior’s living space, geriatricians propose small modifications to make home life easier and safer.

Many experienced geriatricians excel in providing key suggestions to continuously improve the quality of life for seniors.

At the Los Angeles Jewish Home, chief medical officer Dr. Noah Marco leads a team of noted geriatricians who provide award-winning services to seniors on site. “Many in the field consider the Jewish Home as one of the birthplaces of Geriatric Medicine,” says Dr. Marco. “When UCLA established the Multicampus Program in Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology in 1979, it affiliated with the Los Angeles Jewish Home as a place for its doctors to get their experience. We are fortunate that several of our doctors graduated from that program.”

If you or a senior you know are interested in healthy aging or looking to receive life-enhancing care, consider making an appointment with a geriatrician. Call the Home’s convenient, toll-free Connections to Care hotline 855.227.3745, or visit the American Geriatrics Society site and use the Find a Geriatrics Healthcare Professional tool to find a geriatrician near you.

Sign up for the LAJHealth Newsletter, Connections.

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