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Geriatric Assessors Helping Older Adults Get the Support They Need

For older adults, a change in one's physical, mental or functional abilities can be cause for concern. When such a change occurs, the person's physician, family member or CCAC care coordinator may request an assessment by a Geriatric Assessor.

Geriatric Assessors are experts in the care of older adults, typically those over 65 years old. During a home visit, they conduct a multidimensional assessment of the person's physical state, eating habits, environment, abilities and medications. They also complete an in-depth cognitive analysis and look for any signs of abuse or stress.

Brenda O'Brien is part of the Champlain CCAC's Geriatric Team in Renfrew County: "The best part of my job is definitely the home visit. It's a tremendous feeling to sort through the challenges that are faced by patients with dementia, for example, and find ways for them and their families to better cope."

Family members are often present during the home visit. Considering the personal nature of the questions, great consideration and care are taken to ensure that patients feel comfortable enough to share specific details.

"Brenda has been very helpful. She arranged a visit from a physiotherapist and an occupational therapist that resulted in a number of safety enhancements to our home. She also arranged for my husband to attend an Adult Day Program in our area and he really enjoyed it! Things are working out well," said Teresa Pilgrim, whose husband is a Champlain CCAC client in Renfrew County.

By seeing patients in their natural environment, Geriatric Assessors have the time to ask important questions and see first-hand some of the concerns that patients may have—details that patients may not disclose when visiting their physician.

Once the geriatric assessment is completed, family members, care coordinators and physicians are contacted for additional information. These findings, compiled as a report, help care providers to provide additional support or resources for patients to work on the issues identified in their geriatric assessment.