Specialized program helps older adults live their best lives

About half of all patients admitted to hospital in Niagara are 65 or older.

The region is also home to the third largest percentage of Canadian adults over the age of 85 – a population predicted to double in the next 25 years.

With that in mind, Niagara Health has made care of older persons a strategic priority and positioned itself as a leader in geriatric care in the process with its Care for Older Persons Strategy.

“At this stage, we’re hoping to move ahead of other hospital systems in terms of our approach to care for older persons, financial investment, time and strategic plan,” says Lori MacCulloch, Niagara Health’s Director of Complex Care and Geriatrics. “Really, when you think about it, a significant part of what we do all the time is caring for older adults. I’m really proud of this organization for saying, ‘We recognize this is happening and we’re supporting this by making care for older persons a priority.’”

The Care for Older Persons Strategy is an integrated, person-centred model of care that aligns with the Senior-Friendly Care Framework and delivers specialized inpatient and outpatient services across and beyond Niagara Health.

Many teams, programs and individuals are working to establish age-friendly care and specialized services that are accessible to all older adults. By the time the strategy is fully implemented over the next few years, “every (hospital) door will be the right door” for someone 65 and older to walk through and receive standardized care by Niagara Health physicians and staff.

The Geriatric Assessment Program (GAP) is one of those services providing compassionate care to Niagara’s older adults. GAP offers both inpatient and outpatient programming at all Niagara Health hospitals.

These are just a few of the dedicated team members who meet with patients and their families to create comprehensive care plans, and provide counselling and support to help Niagara’s older adults live safely and independently as long as possible.

Dr. Ziyaad Al-Khateeb, Head of Service, Geriatrics

Suzie Forgeron, Geriatric Assessment Program (GAP) Case Manager

Stefanie Irish, Interim Clinical Manager of Regional Geriatrics and Clinical Manager of Inpatient Medicine, Telemetry and Stroke at the Niagara Falls hospital

Stephanie Ralph, Registered Nurse, Bachelor of Science, Inpatient Geriatric Assessment Program

Julie Rubel, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Geriatrics

Vanessa Shannon, Ward Clerk  

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