For many older adults, the first step to finding the right care is a comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA), which is a practical means of viewing the "whole patient".

A thorough evaluation by a Consultant Geriatrician, using various screening tools, can reveal the reasons for many conditions. These include depression, memory loss, behavior problems, frequent falls, dizzy spells, side effects from medicines, unexplained symptoms and other difficulties.

A full geriatric assessment, which takes approximately 60-90 minutes, includes:

- Gathering personal and family medical history

- A full physical exam

- Tests and screenings to evaluate physical, emotional and mental status

- A review of all drugs and supplements being taken

Geriatric assessment paves the way for problem solving. Once we understand what is causing the patient"s behavioral, emotional or physical difficulties, we can chart the best solutions.

The outcomes of CGA will be different for every patient but the most common ones are:

1. New diagnosis and multidimensional management plan, which will involve ongoing input from the GP, likely to involve community physiotherapists, OT, dieticians, community Matrons and of course the family.

2. Review of medicines: recommendations to stop or start new medicines

3. Biochemical or radiological tests to improve diagnostic accuracy

4. Recommendations on long-term care planning

Geriatric Assessment Service, Hastings. East Sussex : Tel: 07464 297717 : Fax : 01424 758132 : Email: info@holisticservice.co.uk

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