Geriatric Care in Chennai - Elder Healthcare Services
Kauvery Hospital is one among the few hospitals that offers Geriatric care in Chennai. The Orthogeriatric program offered by The Kauvery Institute of Orthopaedic and Neurosciences, collaborates with the other departments such as emergency medicine and geriatrics, to provide orthopaedic and neurosciences care to the frail and aging. The Orthogeriatric and Neurosciences’ specialized services, were developed to focus on the aging population and their risk of fractures, coupled with other complexities.
The most common and most debilitating injury among the elderly are hip fractures and most patients 65 and above, generally have other medical problems, which complicates the treatment process. At our Institute of Orthopaedic and Neurosciences, our comprehensive team of Orthopaedic surgeons, Neurosurgeons, Neurologists, Physicians, Physiotherapists, Specialists and Sub-specialties like our X-ray and CT scan services all collaborate to provide the best diagnosis and treatments, from the time the patient comes through to our emergency department. We address and manage the surgical care, physical therapy, pain management and recovery aspects of care.
What are the common orthopedic conditions that affect elders?
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition that affects the hands, knees, ankles and spine. It affects 1 in 3 adults according to Center for Disease Control in the US. Osteoporosis is another condition in which people suffer from age-related decrease in bone density and bone mass. The above 2 conditions increase the risk for fractures and dislocations in the limbs and hip.
Geriatric patients with fractures constitute uncommon challenges because of their accompanying medical conditions, such as heart or lung diseases, diabetes, cognitive problems, malnutrition, strength and balance issues, all of which requires a comprehensive and efficient system to help these patients to recover.
The Baby Boomer generation is progressively aging though with greater life expectancy. However the risk factors from osteoporosis that lie before them are factors, like prior fractures, being extremely thin, having low bone density, having undergone steroid treatments and having additional medical problems.
Does a family medical history of orthopedic conditions matter?
Yes, they do! However, if you are leading an active life with frequent exercise, the risk from inherited conditions reduces. Lifestyle habits such as smoking, alcohol consumption and drug abuse as well as medication taken for other health conditions also have a bearing on your bone health. That is why, it’s important to get screened regularly for bone density and bone health, if you have a family history of orthopedic conditions.
Who can be Referred?
There is no fixed age at which a person should consult a geriatric medicine specialist. While the average age for people to start going to a geriatrician is between 60 and 65, various physical and psychological factors may make it desirable to consult one at a younger age. Consulting a geriatric specialist does not mean that a person is old and frail – the human body changes with age, and geriatric medicine deals with medical issues people face in their senior years. Any older adult may be referred for geriatric medical care, but among the common reasons for this are:
- A person has become frail or impaired
- Has medical issues that require specialized monitoring, medication, senior care, services, and treatment
- Regular home-based support elder care service is not enough to keep the senior citizen in the optimum state of well-being
- Chronic medical conditions have become worse with advancing years
- Activities that did not cause physical problems in the past do so now
- Medical issues that were under control earlier have become worse
Specialized geriatric care is the right way to give the elderly the best possible sense of well-being and quality of life that is possible.
Diseases That May Affect the Elderly
Geriatric medicine deals with all medical issues that may affect the elderly. Among the most common problems that demand specialized senior care services are:
- Fall injuries: Balance and mobility problems are common among the elderly. This raises the risk of falling, and because the bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons are not as strong and flexible as they were at a younger age, fractures and other orthopedic problems arising from falling can be much more severe at a younger age.
- Incontinence: Urinary incontinence (lack of bladder control that leads to frequent and uncontrolled passing of urine) is common among older adults. People often suffer needlessly from this condition because embarrassment prevents them from seeking help. Geriatric doctors are familiar with this condition and have many options at their disposal to treat it.
- Cardiovascular disease: The risk of cardiac disease increases with age, even for those with a healthy lifestyle. This does not mean that the elderly are sickly or must stay in bed. Advanced years require that a geriatric specialist evaluates the medical condition and refers the patient to a cardiac specialist if there is a need. This will ensure that treatment begins at the earliest so the treatment results are the best that can be achieved.
- Depression: The reduction of activities and outside interest that often accompany advancing years is often a cause for depression. So too is having to live with medical issues and disabilities. This can often lead to depression and which in turn may exacerbate the existing medical problems. Depression among the elderly manifests itself in ways that are different than with younger adults. For example, shortness of breath is often a sign of a heart condition among younger people but maybe depression among the elderly. Geriatricians understand this and can diagnose and treat depression.
- Dementia: Some memory loss is expected with advanced years, but it is often insignificant and does not affect the ability to function. is an umbrella term covering various medical conditions that lead to memory loss that can be serious enough to affect a person’s ability to function independently. Geriatric doctors know how to spot the signs early on so that treatment can ameliorate the severity of the condition.
- Chronic medical conditions: With advancing years, a chronic medical condition that a person has been living with may require changed or modified treatment, medication, and care to suit the physical changes that the body undergoes with age.
Specialists in geriatric medicine know that the elderly have special medical needs and often have other medical issues or medication regimens that must be considered when prescribing treatment. All relevant factors will be evaluated when deciding on a course of treatment.
Do Home remedies for orthopedic conditions help? That is what people in villages do, right?
Chiropractors, bone-setters, alternative medicine and home remedies for orthopedic conditions have been around for ages. However, they come with various risks. Most of these are not tested in a laboratory or a large sample of patients. They are purely based on word of mouth. In contrast, orthopedic specialists in leading hospitals have received training for years, and have access to time-tested practices, techniques, therapies, and medications from around the world. This is safer and reduces the risk of complications that can arise from unsafe treatments.
Are there any tips for preventive orthopedic care for elders?
- The elder must stay physically active at all times, with activities like walking, cycling and swimming. Exercises that strengthen the core must be attempted as per doctors’ advice.
- Their diet and lifestyle habits must be adjusted so as to boost their bone health, and general health too. The elder should maintain a healthy weight at all times.
- Appropriate flooring and grab-rails in hallways, bathrooms and kitchens must be installed to prevents slips or falls, and hence fractures. He/she should use slip-proof footwear.
- Orthopedic screening once a year for adults in the 60-70 years of age-group and once in 6 months for older adults, is advised.
How can a leading hospital help?
Leading Hospitals take a holistic approach to Geriatric orthopedic care. Trained specialists there have experience treating elders with orthopedic issues. There is a lot of emphasis on preventive care, and then comprehensive home-care if needed. All this makes it easy for the elder to manage symptoms of the condition, and day-to-day activities, with ease.