At UPMC Senior Care, we provide primary care to older adults who have complex health care needs as well as consultations for patients with specific geriatric conditions. In addition, we partner with primary care physicians to co-manage care of older adults who may have multiple health issues that require an interdisciplinary team approach.
Our goal is to help older patients stay independent, optimize self-care ability, and maintain quality of life.
We begin with a health assessment with the goal of encouraging wellness and independent function. We recognize the significant role of the caregiver in caring for the older adult and include their needs as part of our assessment.
The assessment leads to targeted interventions including more complete evaluations by experts from our interdisciplinary team.
Based on the findings, we establish an ongoing treatment plan, keeping in mind the values, goals, and wishes of our patient.
Our interdisciplinary team includes geriatricians, psychiatrists, psychologists, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, pharmacists, and physical therapists, who have special training in caring for older adults. Following a description of each of our team members’ qualifications and roles in providing care for older adults.
A geriatrician is a physician who is board-certified in either internal medicine or family practice medicine and who has an additional one to two years of training and board certification in geriatric medicine.
Psychiatrists are physicians who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders affecting older adults. Psychiatrists specializing in geriatrics have an additional one or two years of training in geriatric psychiatry.
A psychologist is a specially trained, non-physician who specializes in psychological problems of older adults. Our team has neuropsychologists who assist geriatricians with screening, assessment, and treatment of memory disorder problems in older adults.
Nurse practitioners (NP) are nurses who have advanced training. Our NPs are trained in gerontology and work in partnership with our geriatricians. They treat both physical and mental conditions. NPs also serve as a patient's "point of entry" into our program if immediate attention is needed.
Nurses help facilitate the care of the older adult in our practice. Nurses are licensed professionals and assist the physician with history taking, screening for vital signs and symptoms, updating information on medications, and other key health care issues.
Geriatric social workers have advanced training. They assist patients and their caregivers with counseling on psychosocial issues such as dealing with difficult family and caregiving situations, advance planning, finding community resources, assisting with placement options, and other suggestions to help reduce stress for both the older patient and their caregiver.
Geriatric pharmacists have advanced training.They assist geriatricians, older adults, and the caregiver with the management of complex medication regimens and make suggestions to help optimize the financial resources spent by the patient on medications.
Geriatric physical therapists have advanced training. They help the physician with physical assessment and treatment for balance and gait if needed.
The first visit to UPMC Senior Care may last about two hours. It is helpful for family members or caregivers to accompany the patient and bring all medications, including herbal and over-the-counter medications to the visit.
The geriatrician will take a thorough medical history by talking with both the patient and his/her family members and will perform and age-appropriate physical examination.