A geriatric hospital is a medical facility dedicated solely to the care and treatment of elderly adults. Geriatric hospitals may be preferable to conventional hospitals, as they are outfitted specifically for the management of older patients. Some of the services a geriatric hospital might provide include emergency care, diagnosis and treatment, mental health services, long-term care, and end of life care.
Elderly patients often have different needs than more youthful hospital patients. As the body ages, it becomes more difficult to recover quickly from injury or illness, leading to increased healing times. Older patients are also more subject to post-procedural complications, such as post-operative infections. Many elderly patients also need careful medical management, since many people have complex prescription drug regimens that increase as they age. There are also some diseases and conditions closely associated with aging, which form the bulk of the geriatric medical specialty.
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The presence of all of these conditions can make it vital to have a geriatric hospital fully dedicated to meeting the needs of this important group of patients. In addition to providing facilities that are appropriate to the types of conditions common in senior citizens, the staff at a geriatric hospital is likely to be comprised mainly of geriatric specialists. At a regular hospital, a patient may be admitted to the emergency room with a kidney problem, but be examined by a doctor specializing in neurology. At a geriatric hospital, elderly patients have a good chance of finding a doctor with knowledge and experience with their particular health issues.
One of the main functions of geriatric hospitals is to provide long-term care for elderly patients with serious medical and mental health conditions. Degenerative illnesses, such as multiple sclerosis or dementia, often make it necessary for patients to receive consistent and professional care, especially in advanced stages. Family members, though often willing to do anything to help an ailing relative, may simply not possess the expertise to serve as full-time medical caregivers. Geriatric hospitals often have entire wings devoted to the care and comfort of long-term patients, so that relatives and friends can rest assured that their loved one's are receiving appropriate, attentive care.
Some medical experts believe that geriatric hospitals may provide far better care for elderly patients than conventional hospitals or medical facilities. Since they are outfitted and staffed entirely for the care of this subset of patients geriatric hospitals are often on the cutting-edge of technology, treatments, and standards of care. There are many excellent geriatric hospitals throughout the world; elderly patients in need of medical care may want to consult their personal physicians about local options.