New approach to geriatric care trialled at hospital
With the proportion of people over 65 on the Peninsula being 60 per cent greater than the State figure, it may be little surprise that a local hospital has paid special attention to geriatric care.
Almost 26 per cent of the Peninsula population is over 65 years of age, compared to 16.3 per cent for the State.
Brisbane Waters Private Hospital has undertaken a "trial of a new, revolutionary approach to geriatric care at which aims to tackle ageism in health care", according to hospital chief executive Ms Debbra Ritter.
The hospital has trialled "a range of evidence-based medicine principles" introduced by its director of geriatric medicine Dr Peter Lipski.
Dr Lipski's principles are outlined in the latest edition of his book "Your Parent's Failing Health. Is It Ageing Or A Treatable Condition?"
The principles aim to take age out of the equation when it comes to clinical care.
"By introducing a holistic approach which focuses on core pillars of care, we have been able to see our geriatric patients dramatically improve, recover and return home in greater numbers than previously experienced," Ms Ritter said.
"Through measures to improve and address malnutrition, blood pressure, adverse drug reactions, the introduction of extensive pre-op and post-op geriatric assessments, we have seen a dramatic transformation in our older patients."
In addition to this, a project entitled Hunger (Helping Under-Nourished Get Energy to Recover) has been introduced at the hospital.
"We've introduced changes including feeding times, which allows for greater gym time and we've also worked closely with our catering manager to change menus."
According to Dr Peter Lipski, blaming old age for medical conditions or symptoms effectively denies older people proper medical care.
"No one is ever too old for treatment.
"One of the reasons that geriatric medicine is so successful is because there is attention to detail, getting the simple things right and a holistic overview of the whole patient, not just a specific organ approach," Dr Lipski said.
"By applying a holistic approach which tackles a reduction in drugs and adverse drug reactions, improving nutrition and mobility, managing low blood pressure, treating organ specific disease and chronic pain you can achieve great outcomes for older patients.
"We need to destroy the myth that old age is associated with disease, disability and suffering.
"It simply isn't true.
"Older people should be able to function just as effectively as a younger person.
"It has been incredible to see these principles applied to clinical care at Brisbane Waters Private Hospital and the results really do speak for themselves."
Ms Ritter said 76-year-old Umina Beach resident, Mr Douglas Lawrence, reported his life was transformed.
"Dr Lipski really helped me to not only take my health seriously, but he advocated for an operation and treatment that has fixed an injury that has impacted me my whole life.
"I am a Vietnam Vet and this was the first time I had been encouraged to undergo the DVA process to streamline my care.
"To be seen as a whole person and not just an older person has been incredible."
Ms Ritter said: "By removing ageism and age from the clinical discussion and instead looking closer at patients to understand their symptoms and underlying illness, we have a greater chance of not only helping our patients, but improving their overall quality of life so they recover, return home and continue to live a fulfilled and healthy life."
Website, 10 Nov 2021
Debbra Ritter, Brisbane Waters Private Hospital