Senior Assessments at University Hospitals

University Hospitals offers a specially designed senior assessment program to evaluate and make medical and lifestyle recommendations for older adults for improved quality of life. Our goal is to provide a comprehensive assessment and a written plan of care tailored to each individual’s needs. The recommendations will provide patients, families and primary care physicians with tools and resources to help the older adult live independently in a safe living environment.

Our program is staffed by board-certified internal medicine physicians specializing in geriatric medicine and polypharmacy. Polypharmacy is the study of multiple medications, potential drug interactions, and taking more medications than are actually needed. This advanced training is especially important when caring for persons over age 65.

When is a Senior Adult Assessment Appropriate?

Spouses, adult children and physicians may be prompted to seek an in-depth evaluation for an older adult based on the following:

  • Medical concerns and physical limitation
    • Complex medical problems
    • Difficulties performing daily activities
  • Safety issues
    • Medication management
    • Driving
    • Home environment
    • Frequent falls
  • Memory loss or confusion
    • Dementia
    • Confusion
  • Personality or behavioral changes
    • Depression
    • Agitation
    • Anxiety
    • Paranoia

Team Evaluation

By examining physical, social and environmental factors, our senior assessment team can uncover illnesses and conditions that are potentially treatable or chronic, degenerative mental or physical conditions. These findings may require recommendations for immediate and long-term needs. A specially trained physician – a geriatrician – along with a registered nurse and social worker form the core team to conduct the geriatric assessment.

A comprehensive team evaluation includes:

  • Medical evaluation
  • Medication review
  • Psychological evaluation
  • Memory testing
  • Occupational therapy home safety assessment
  • Physical therapy evaluation
  • Social service assessment

Follow-Up and Recommendations

A few weeks after the assessment, the patient and family attend a summary conference to review the assessment findings, learn the recommendations, and ask questions regarding the diagnosis, prognosis, treatment options and future plan of care. The team coordinates plans for medical and social needs of the patient with the primary care physician and referrals are made to community agencies, physician specialists, outpatient therapies and for a functional driving assessment*, if needed.

*The functional driving assessment includes evaluation of cognition, reaction time, perception and judgment in a simulated driving examination.