Geriatric psychiatrists (GPs) focus on prevention, evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of mental and emotional disorders in the elderly. Using GPs in the inpatient setting allows for earlier detection of patients who may be struggling before they’ve escalated to a point where they need more severe interventions. Additionally, GPs who work within the multidisciplinary medical team and collaborate with nurses and social workers can better inform care decisions. The care team can help collect all relevant and necessary information before the actual physical assessment—leading to improved care management and clinical decision making.
One of the major challenges of hiring GPs is that they are expensive and there are simply not enough of them to meet the behavioral health needs of all memory care patients in this country. However, providers can use telehealth visits to connect patients with GPs, which helps cut travel costs and creates more time for the GP to work top of license. One of the benefits of using virtual care for behavioral intervention is that (typically) both the patient and the caregiver are present during the visit. This promotes better information collection without having to visit the patient and caregiver in-person. Beyond that, using virtual visits can also be used for behavioral observation. GPs can better track both the progression and duration of behavioral challenges, as well as how quickly things change while helping to make better care decisions for the patient.
Home Health Care Services company
SSM Health is a leader in behavioral health services, offering nearly 300 inpatient beds across Missouri, 269 inpatient beds in Oklahoma, 24 inpatient beds in Illinois and 20 inpatient beds in Wisconsin. In 2016, they opened their first inpatient geriatric behavioral health units in Mid-Missouri and Illinois, where they provide one-on-one consultations with geriatric psychiatrists, treatment, therapy, and medication education and follow-up with patients. The addition of these units brought new employment opportunities for each community, including social workers, case managers, psychiatrists, recreational therapists and nursing staff.