Geriatrics is the field of medicine devoted to the needs of elderly people. It covers the clinical, preventive and social aspects of the diseases suffered by elderly people, as well as their rehabilitation.
This field of medicine provides interdisciplinary services which include the investigation and general and specific assessment of the somatic, functional, psychological and environmental problems faced by the patient. Beyond this assessment, geriatric care can take the form of various treatment programmes, curative procedures, rehabilitation or palliative care.
It can be necessary to hospitalise elderly people on a geriatric unit in the following cases, among others:
- Somatic (physical) disease combined with a weakness linked to ageing
- Chronic disease with a risk of loss of autonomy and/or of disability
- Neurological, orthopaedic or overall rehabilitation following a disease, a surgical intervention or an accident (trauma)
- Overall medical, functional and medico-social assessment
- Support and palliative care for individuals at the end of their lives.
Decision to Hospitalise
Usually, the request for hospitalisation is issued by the referring doctor; depending on the circumstances, the admission may be urgent or scheduled. The patient can also be hospitalised if this is requested by the Accident and Emergency Department. Finally, some elderly patients who are being treated in another department may be transferred to geriatrics for follow-up care, for rehabilitation or to receive palliative care.