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Dovie Weston, MEd, OTR/L, †

Larry J. Petterborg, PhD, ‡

Richard E. Oliver, PhD, †

Diana J. Baldwin, MA, OTR/L, FAOTA, †

Tarilyn Dobey, MEd, RRT, †

Marilyn Sanford Hargrove, PT, PhD, †

Damascene Kurukulasuriya, MD, §

Stephanie Reid-Arndt, PhD, †

Barry L. Slansky, PhD, CCC-SLP. †

† School of Health Professions, University of Missouri-Columbia

‡ School of Physical Therapy, Texas Women's University, Dallas TX

§ Harry S Truman Memorial Veterans Hospital and School of Medicine, University of Missouri-Columbia

This CIGA case was supported by Grant Number D37 HP00880 from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the HRSA.

Interdisciplinary Geriatric Assessment:
Mr. Ames

Team Information

Definitions of Kinds of Teams

“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 Team Members

A group of team members have a discussion.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 Interdisciplinary Geriatric Assessment Team Members

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.

  • respiratory therapist
    Addresses evaluation, treatment, ongoing care, and prevention education about breathing disorders.
  • occupational therapist
    Addresses functional independence and safety in daily activities with the older adult and their caregivers / families.
  • physical therapist
    Addresses disability from acute or chronic disease or traumatic injuries, injury prevention and physical fitness.
  • health psychologist
    Addresses psychosocial issues such as depression, anxiety, and bereavement that may contribute to a patient's / client's difficulties.
  • speech-language pathologist
    Addresses assessment and management of communication disorders, including language-related areas of cognition, attention, and memory.

Still other team members may include a dentist, dietitian, optometrist, pastor, podiatrist, orthotist/prosthetist, or recreation therapist and others depending on need.

Interdisciplinary Geriatric Assessment Team Leader

The team leader can be any team member, and can change from meeting to meeting. The responsibilities of the team leader include:

  • Keep the meeting moving and time efficient.
  • Keep members focused by not allowing one team member to dominate the discussion or use the meeting to educate other team members.
  • Keep to the format such as following the IGA form to record present status and plan of action.
  • Have team members resolve any differences outside of the meeting.

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Last Update: Nov 29 2012