This educational case study is one of four developed by the Center for Interdisciplinary Geriatric Assessment. Its purpose is to promote the use of interdisciplinary health care teams to plan and manage the treatment of older adults who have multiple medical, psychological, and social needs. In this case the focus is on five disciplines with departments in the School of Health Professions at the University of Missouri-Columbia: Respiratory Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Health Psychology, and Speech-Language Pathology.
Research has shown that older adults who have complex problems are benefitted if an interdisciplinary geriatric team assesses and actively manages their health care. (Landefeld, 2003)
Interdisciplinary geriatric teams are most effective for older patients with complex problems. Such a team is not recommended for older adults who are basically well except for one or two problems, nor who are terminally ill or demented. (Winograd, 1991)
Benefits that accrue to older adults with complex problems who are being managed by an interdisciplinary geriatric health care team include shorter length of stay, greater maintenance of current functionality, and fewer hospital readmissions. Considering these benefits, having an interdisciplinary team costs no more than conventional medical approaches. (Rubenstein, 1995)
This educational case study describes how teams typically operate, and how the use of the Interdisciplinary Geriatric Assessment (IGA) form can prompt the consideration not only of important health markers, such as nutrition, ambulation, and self-care but also the need for additional services to address problems adequately. Using the IGA form as a guide, the team leader can keep the meeting focused and time efficient.
Information included on the IGA form is not meant to reflect the entire case history of the older adult. Rather the IGA form is to record the complex issues which are impacting the older adult at this time. Drawing on the experience and expertise of the team members, and their familiarity with the older adult, a plan of action can be developed which meets the needs of the individual.
Before completing this case study you should be familiar with background information about interdisciplinary teams in geriatric care (next page).