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New ULP Geriatrics office to address increased need for aging services

by Amy Higgs, University of Louisville Physicians last modified May 18, 2012 02:45 PM

To address the mounting need for specialty services for patients over age 65, the University of Louisville Physicians-Geriatric Practice recently celebrated the opening of a new clinical office in the UofL Health Care Outpatient Center (HCOC), 401 E. Chestnut St.

The 5,200-square-foot office on the first floor of the HCOC replaces the practice’s previous 900-square-foot location at Cardinal Station near UofL’s Belknap Campus. The six geriatricians, four nurse practitioners and six staff moved to the new location during the week of May 7.

There is a shortage of geriatricians to care for the aging population both locally and nationally, according to the American Geriatrics Society. The only comprehensive, dedicated geriatrics practice in the region, ULP-Geriatrics plans to help address this gap in health care with the opening of its new space. The new office will allow ULP-Geriatrics to accommodate a significant increase in patient visits with shorter wait times for care.

The new office also provides easy access to other ULP services, including neurology, psychiatry, podiatry, cardiology, physical therapy and more. In addition, X-ray, lab and pharmacy are offered at the HCOC, so geriatric patients can have all their health care needs met in one building. Patient drop-off is located at the building’s rear entrance, with wheelchair transport and concierge services available. Convenient parking is located in the attached garage across Chestnut Street.

“The new, larger facility will help us provide more patients with comprehensive interdisciplinary geriatrics care,” said Christian Davis Furman, MD, vice-chair for geriatric medicine at UofL. “It also will enable better coordination of care for all our patients, in addition to providing a welcoming, easy-to-navigate environment.”

The physicians and other clinical providers at ULP-Geriatrics have extensive experience with conditions associated primarily with patients over 65. Their expertise includes healthy aging, injuries resulting from falls, fall prevention, overall functional issues, medication management, urinary disorders and incontinence.

Providers offer services for depression, dementia, memory impairment, delirium, palliative care and end-of-life care. The practice also provides home care, hospital and nursing home consultation services.

ULP-Geriatrics is the only one in Kentuckiana that offers a Geriatric Evaluation and Treatment (GET) Program, which provides a comprehensive geriatric assessment and treatment plan for patients. Patients receive a review of their medications by a doctor of pharmacy trained in geriatrics pharmacotherapy through the geriatrics polypharmacy initiative; a medical evaluation by a geriatrician; a cognitive evaluation by a psychologist; and a psycho-social assessment by a social worker to evaluate their caregiving and support needs.

After these four evaluations are conducted, the entire team of geriatrics professionals come together to develop a personalized and comprehensive care plan for the patient. The new space in the HCOC will allow each of the four teams to have the dedicated space it needs to fully accommodate patients and their families in assessing patients and developing their treatment plans.

The physicians at the ULP-Geriatrics are also faculty and researchers with the University of Louisville School of Medicine’s Department of Family & Geriatric Medicine. ULP’s Family Medicine practice will expand into the space vacated by the ULP-Geriatrics in Cardinal Station.

The geriatricians at the practice are: Christian Furman, MD, vice chair; Rangaraj Gopalraj, MD; Laura Grooms, MD; Patrick Murphy, MD; James O’Brien, MD, who is also chair of the UofL Department of Family & Geriatric Medicine; and Belinda Setters, MD. Demetra Antimisiaris, PharmD, is the geriatric pharmacist for the practice. Nurse practitioners are: Angela Irvin, Rebecca Griffin, Amy Varner and Noreen Mason. Brenda Purser, MSSW, serves as social worker. Benjamin Mast, PhD, is the psychologist who performs neuropsychiatry testing and counseling.

The move was made possible in part by the UofL Geriatrics Advisory Board, a group of volunteers interested and involved in caring for geriatric patients, who led a campaign that raised $513,285 to fund renovation of the new space.

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