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Suggestions Offered on How to Better Meet Care Needs of Older Adults

Ramin Davidoff, MD, executive medical director of Southern California Permanente Medical Group, writing for MedPage Today, recommends several ways to improve care for older adults, especially as their numbers grow amid a shortage of primary care physicians. Dr. Davidoff’s suggestions include: 1) Broaden the number of geriatrics-trained physicians in primary care; 2) Focus more tightly on treatments that matter most to older adults to avoid conflicting medications and surgeries that may do more harm than good; 3) Leverage team-based care wherein multiple interdisciplinary health professionals coordinate patient care, improve medication management, and foster better communication across the care team; 4) Focus on “prevention geriatrics” to nurture a patient’s health and maximize life expectancy; this means screening for and managing chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure, as well as more acute diseases such as breast cancer and colorectal cancer; 5) “Deprescribe” to minimize drug prescriptions as much as possible and reduce harmful drug interactions; 6) Address social determinants of health by addressing such factors as nutrition, isolation, and housing that can affect older adults’ well-being and care; 7) Using viable and safe options, move more care into the home, which can give patients more autonomy and control over their care and health conditions.

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