What does a Geriatric Physician do?

A geriatric physician helps elderly and aging adults with medical care, counseling, and treatment. Geriatric physicians, also known as “geriatricians,” work in offices or practices dedicated solely to the needs of the elderly. Although a geriatric physician is first and foremost a doctor, the job entails a variety of responsibilities that go beyond basic medical care. Geriatricians often assist elderly patients in adjusting to end-of-life issues, with a focus on patient comfort rather than definitive cures. Involvement of family members and other health professionals in the care of an individual patient is common among geriatric doctors.

Understanding how aging affects the body’s health is one of a geriatric physician’s most important tasks. Elderly people face some of the most difficult health issues of any demographic. Traditional remedies for common ailments become less effective or cease to work as people age and become frail. The likelihood of multiple things going wrong at the same time increases, and the body’s natural defenses weaken. Traditional treatments for patients nearing the end of their lives are adapted in geriatric medicine.

A geriatric physician’s job entails a lot of pain management. He or she will meet with a patient, assess the patient’s health and health issues, and, if necessary, look for reasonable ways to alleviate the patient’s suffering. While healing or restoring normal health is important for many younger patients, comfort is often more important for the elderly.

Minor ailments can, of course, often be cured, even in the elderly. Geriatric doctors are more concerned about the more serious conditions, such as cancer and organ failure. Aggressive treatments that may have been appropriate when you were younger may no longer be appropriate for an elderly patient. The body’s ability to bounce back becomes increasingly difficult as it ages.

Another important role of the geriatric physician is mental health management. Alzheimer’s disease and dementia have a significant impact on the quality of life and autonomy of many elderly people. Close family members are frequently affected mental illness. Geriatricians must be well-versed in treating and mitigating the negative effects of mental degeneration, and they must often spend a significant amount of time educating worried family members. For referrals, many geriatricians keep a list of mental health and family counselors on hand.

Aside from these fundamentals, the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities of any given geriatric physician vary depending on the doctor’s practice’s contours. Some geriatric doctors work in practices that cater to the needs of the elderly in the neighborhood. Others work as specialists in general and family practice offices, as well as in hospitals and hospices. Geriatric physicians work to treat, heal, and comfort the aging body regardless of where they work.

A geriatric physician is usually a certified geriatric specialist. Many countries, including the United States and Canada, require doctors to complete specialized training and obtain certification credentials before practicing as anything other than family doctors. A geriatric physician must usually specialize in geriatrics in order to practice. After medical school, this usually entails completing a dedicated geriatric rotation and passing a geriatric medicine exam. Most certification credentials must be renewed every two years, either through re-testing or through attendance at seminars and conferences for continuing education credits.