Geriatric Evaluation is a health care visit with a team of experts that results in a treatment plan aimed at helping Veterans:
- Maintain good health
- Improve quality of life
- Reduce the need for hospital stays
- Reduce the need for long term care services
- Remain independent using VA and community resources
Geriatric Evaluation is an option for all enrolled Veterans who need it, as often as it is needed. There are special teams at VA for older Veterans. This visit is often called a consult.
This service is for Veterans with complex care needs. It can help their caregivers learn to manage and cope with both normal age-related changes in health and the more complex kinds of medical problems that may develop with aging. These problems are called “Geriatric Syndromes.” These syndromes may include:
- Hearing problems
- Vision problems
- Feeling dizzy
- Weight loss due to decreased appetite, poor diet, and being less active
- Less strength, also called “frailty” – which can make make it harder to get better from an illness or after a hospital stay
- Sudden confusion, also called delirium
- Hard time with walking or balance, and falls
- Changes with bowel or bladder function, such as constipation or incontinence (lack of control of bladder or bowels)
- Dementia and other memory loss problems
- Feeling depressed
- Taking five or more medicines, vitamins, or supplements
This consult visit can be done in the clinic or hospital. It can be done in person, through Telehealth, over the phone or through a review of the medical record.
After this visit, a plan is shared with the Veteran and caregiver. The plan includes resources and support services to address current and possible future problems.
What to expect at an evaluation visit
Since these visits may involve many health care team members, it can be lengthy and may even take several visits. Geriatric evaluation can be done in person or via Telehealth in:
- Inpatient settings
- Outpatient settings
- Long term care settings at home, in the community or in the VA
The visit includes a review of a Veteran’s physical, mental and psycho-social health status, such as:
- Ability to function independently
- Ability to do basic activities of daily living, such as getting dressed, bathing, making meals and managing medications
- Veteran’s place of living, social network and access to support services
Caregivers are welcome and encouraged to come to these visits. The Caregiver Self-Assessment may help caregivers assess their needs and prepare for talks with their loved one’s social worker and care team about home and community services and supports that are best for them and their Veteran.