“Interdisciplinary” is differentiated from “multidisciplinary” and “transdisciplinary.”
“Multidisciplinary” practice involves membership in a clinical group, where team members are aware of and share information with other disciplines.
“Transdisciplinary” teams share knowledge. The traditional practice boundaries between professionals become less rigid, allowing members of the team to work on problems not typically encountered in their discipline.
“Interdisciplinary” implies the existence of a clinical team. In this integrated approach, team members actively coordinate care and services across disciplines in a process resembling problem-based learning. In a clinical setting, team members could discuss each patient several times a week. These discussions could be either in face-to-face or virtual settings.
Interdisciplinary geriatric assessment teams are comprised of various health care specialists. They consider more options than do individual practitioners working alone. People over the age of 65 have an average of 5 chronic health problems. No single discipline can meet the multiple needs of these patients. The interdisciplinary geriatric assessment team provides a link to more services. It also monitors and interacts with these complex patients and their families from multiple perspectives.
Core team members are typically a geriatric physician (MD or DO), a geriatric social worker, a geriatric nurse, and a pharmacist. In these educational materials we will concentrate on five other health care professionals, who are also frequent interdisciplinary geriatric assessment team members.
Still other team members may include a dentist, dietitian, optometrist, pastor, podiatrist, orthotist/prosthetist, or recreation therapist and others depending on need.
The team leader can be any team member, and can change from meeting to meeting. The responsibilities of the team leader include: