LOUISVILLE, Ky. – UofL Geriatrics surpassed a fundraising goal this summer, giving the green light to a planned expansion that will provide more services for geriatrics patients.
An anonymous donor provided a gift of $250,000, contingent upon the department’s ability to raise a matching amount by June 30. Drawing upon the generosity of the UofL Geriatrics Advisory Board and other donors, an additional $263,285 was raised, surpassing the half-million-dollar mark necessary to build out new clinical space in the University of Louisville’s Health Care Outpatient Center (HCOC).
“We are grateful to everyone who donated to this effort. A highlight was the leadership and support of the UofL Geriatrics Advisory Board as well as the geriatrics faculty and staff,” said Dr. James O’Brien, chair of the department of family and geriatric medicine. “All members – 100 percent – of both the advisory board and our faculty and staff donated to this campaign, and we are grateful for their support.”
The new UofL Geriatrics’ clinical site will be located on the first floor of the HCOC at 401 E. Chestnut St. and is expected to open around Labor Day. The move will enable more coordination of care for geriatrics patients said Dr. Christian Davis Furman, vice-chair for geriatric medicine.
“This funding means we can move into a new, larger facility that will help us provide more patients with complete interdisciplinary geriatrics care. Beginning this summer, we expanded our Geriatric Evaluation and Treatment program for all new patients, and the new space gives us improved physical space to coordinate it,” Furman said.
With this program, called “GET,” an interdisciplinary approach is used to develop a treatment plan for patients. They 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 enable each of the four teams to have the dedicated space they need to fully accommodate patients and their families in assessing patients and developing their treatment plans.
UofL Geriatrics began using the GET program to evaluate new patients in 1984. Nationally, it has become known as the standard of care for geriatrics patients. UofL Geriatrics is the only clinical care provider in Kentucky and Southern Indiana that provides assessments through the GET program.
Prior to July 1, the GET program was used to evaluate many, but not all, geriatrics patients at the discretion of the physician. “What we have increasingly seen is that all geriatrics patients can benefit from a complete GET evaluation,” Furman said. “Our current location in Cardinal Station is too small to do thorough assessments for all patients. We’ll now have that space in the new facility.”
Furman also echoed O’Brien’s praise of the UofL Geriatrics Advisory Board, a 19-member board made up of civic leaders who care about providing optimal care to older adults. “Their advice and recommendations are invaluable to our work,” Furman said. “Many board members are involved in geriatrics care themselves. Others are business leaders in other professions. We are grateful for their support, not only in our recent fund-raising campaign but in all they do for us.”