Today, let’s talk about Comprehensive Geriatric Evaluations. These assessments or evaluations are different from a regular medical exam in a number of ways.
Instead of a single physician looking for a particular illness or problem, the assessment often includes a doctor, social worker, pharmacist and physical therapist. And the object is to learn about how the older person is functioning in every aspect of their daily life, and gain information about their overall quality of life.
Performing a comprehensive assessment is often a collection of information, and not necessarily done all at one sitting. Many of the questions focus on changes in thinking, mobility, stability/balance and continence, which make up the ADL (Activities of Daily Living) we hear so much about. The exam also closely explores any current medications and the possible results of drug interactions.
Geriatric providers may assess:
- Current living environment
- Family situation and availability
- Current caregiver network and how it’s working for the elder
- Services required/received
- Recent and impending life changes
- Current symptoms and illnesses and their effect, and relevant past illnesses
- Current emotional health
- Nutritional status and needs, as well as health promotion activities
- Effects of current medications and substance abuse
- Objective measure of overall personal and social functionality and cognitive status
- Objective assessment of mobility and balance
- Rehabilitative status and prognosis if appropriate
- Disease risk factors and screening status
The information is used to develop treatment and long-term follow-up plans, arrange for primary care and rehabilitative services, organize case management, determine long-term care requirements and best placement, and make the best use of health care resources. This evaluation also provides a comprehensive baseline, to measure any changes or judge outcomes of care.
I recommend a comprehensive evaluation because it generally provides much of the information we need as a starting point for any decision making about care. In southern Maine, comprehensive geriatric evaluations are provided by Maine Medical Center and often covered by insurance.
As always, please don’t hesitate to contact me if you’d like more information!
Lynn Peel, Beach Glass Transitions