Elderly care physician's field of activity
The elderly care physician endeavours to maintain and improve the quality of life of elderly people and chronic patients. His fields of activity are nursing or residential homes, primary health care and/or hospitals.
Elderly care physicians are experts in the field of terminal and palliative care. They also provide medical care to elderly people who need rehabilitation. Although it is in their name elderly care physicians do not work exclusively with elderly people. They also treat younger patients with similar complex disorders.
In nursing homes
For the greatest part of the day, an elderly care physician examines patients in the wards, and investigates the need for paramedical care such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, or speech therapy. He also calls in medical specialists for advice and treatment support. He maintains frequent contact with the patient’s family.
As most patients stay in a nursing home for two or three years, the elderly care physician comes to know these patients for a longer period of time and he forms a close bond with them. He has to deal with deaths and similar sad situations, and therefore he needs to lend support to the death bed and provide adequate terminal care. This is a rewarding process: it brings deep personal contact with patients and their families and builds strong work relationships.
Outside nursing homes
More and more people with complex care live at home. They, too, have treatment demands that fit within the specialist field of elderly care physician.
The elderly care physician visits these patients during consultation hours in the GP centre of during home visits. Some elderly care physicians have consulting hours at a hospital’s geriatric policlinic for frail elderly with memory problems.
In these cases, the general practitioner (GP) is the patient’s main care provider and the elderly care physician is the consultant.