Geriatric Medicine and Palliative Care

Tamas Soos, MD

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What is Geriatric Medicine and Palliative Care?
Geriatrics is an area of medicine dealing with elderly patients. The main goals of geriatric medicine are to promote the health of the elderly, to prevent and treat diseases they may encounter and to slow physical and mental deterioration due to aging.

A doctor who specializes in Geriatrics is called a Geriatrician. The job of a Geriatrician can be quite demanding as elderly patients tend to have unique health concerns, with many health issues occurring at the same time. In addition elderly patients often react differently than younger patients when they become ill; therefore, a Geriatrician must create a health plan that addresses all these unique needs. In the US it is necessary for a doctor to be board-certified in Internal Medicine to specialize in Geriatrics. The doctor must undergo additional training in order to receive certification in Geriatrics.

Increasingly many geriatricians and internal medicine physicians are called upon to provide care for patients in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Our Blue Ridge physicians provide care to nursing home patients in Surry, Wilkes and Yadkin Counties. This includes attending physician services, consultation on wound care management, wound care procedures and palliative care.

Palliative care is a specialized form of medicine that aims to enhance the quality of life of patients and their families who are faced with serious illness. It focuses on increasing comfort through prevention and treatment of distressing symptoms. In addition to expert symptom management, Palliative Care focuses on clear communication, advance planning and coordination of care.