At-home geriatric clinic relieves physical and mental challenges

Caring for someone with dementia can be one of the most rewarding experiences, but it can also come with challenges. As time passes, and the level of dementia advances, traveling to appointments at the geriatric clinic becomes too physically and mentally challenging for patients and caregivers.

Complicating matters, patients may be dealing with a mix of conditions and issues – cognitive, social and/or mobility challenges and, often, more than one chronic condition. They need assessment and a treatment plan from more than one kind of specialist and sometimes the primary care provider isn’t sure who to ask for help.

As one family learned, virtual care can reduce the burden of traveling to appointments; bringing together geriatric and psychiatry specialists, primary care providers, patients and their families. The result? A comprehensive treatment plan that reflects patient needs and wants.

Recognizing the risk of his patient potentially missing appointments which could have negative impact on her health, Dr. Samir K. Sinha the Director of Geriatrics at Sinai Health System and the University Health Network arranged a consultation via video for his patient and her family.

“We arranged a (video) consultation but wondered if a good level of intimacy and connection could be achieved through videoconferencing technology. When it was over, we waved goodbye to the patient, who waved back.” Then she scolded her family for not seeing Dr. Sinha properly to the door of her home. For many, video is very much a real interaction that can deliver powerful results.

The family felt the virtual visit was perfect; it brought convenience, connectedness and integration.

“You can’t imagine level of gratitude from patients and their families,” Dr. Sinha says. “They see hope after they’ve been spinning around, unable to get out of the house and access the care they need.”

Read about Dr. Sinha’s experience.