Nawaloka Hospitals, as part of its commitment to continue innovation in healthcare, has developed a specialised unit for the care of the elderly. The reason for this is that with advancements in healthcare people are able to live longer now than they would have in the past.  Coupled with a decrease in the birth rate and an ageing population this has resulted in a slow demographic transition that will eventually lead to the elderly making up a majority of the population. In this light Geriatric Medicine and advancements in the field will be of paramount importance to the nation.

“Geriatric medicine is a speciality that deals with the healthcare of the elderly. It adopts a holistic approach for the assessment and management of older people affected by illnesses with a view, not only to focus on the primary disease process, but also with a focus on all other physiological systems and processes affected by it. Development of specialised units is quite vital for this purpose and can assist the elderly achieve the best possible quality of life and independence,” said Dr. Chandana Kanakaratne, consultant Physician and Geriatrician.

The ageing process leads to a decline in the physiological processes of the body and makes the elderly with reduced physiological capacities more susceptible to significant complications from mild problems and result in multiple problems compounding. To manage these ailments patients will first need to undergo a process called Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment where they are assessed for medical as well as psychological and functional issues leading to the development of practical goals for management, which are achieved and followed up through multi-professional participation coordinated through the Geriatrician.  

While the issues of ageing commonly affect the elderly similar issues can occur in adults of any age who have depleted body reserves due to diseases and disabilities acquired through life, and similar principles of assessment and management can be applied for them as well.

“Services and skills of this speciality are used in improving the well-being of frail elderly patients admitted to surgical and orthopaedic wards in many countries. Similar skills are used to manage patients having more complex diseases, such as advanced Parkinson disease or complicated strokes, of any age,” said Dr. Chandana Kanakaratne.

Nawaloka entered the state dominated healthcare sector in 1985 and has been at the forefront of the Sri Lankan healthcare sector for over three decades. This latest initiative to develop a specialised geriatric unit is a continuation of Nawaloka’s commitment to providing world class services and anticipating the country’s healthcare needs.