Through Masonicare’s Pathways Program, many Connecticut seniors have received comprehensive evaluations and subsequent recommendations that have enabled them to take the steps needed to have the most independent, enjoyable life possible. Dr. Simina Ionescu, a board-certified internist and geriatrician, recently joined the medical staff at Masonicare Primary Care Physicians in Wallingford. Susan Ade, a geriatric APRN who’s been with the Pathways Program for several years, works in tandem with Dr. Ionescu to evaluate and treat clients. Here they explain the Pathways program to help readers understand how a geriatric assessment can change lives – for the better!
It is a specialized geriatric assessment that provides a comprehensive evaluation of a
senior’s physical, mental and emotional health. This multi-faceted assessment helps
pinpoint physical and mental concerns and offers a comprehensive plan for care and
support. The process is quite individualized, as every patient is different. Optimally, an
assessment will help families address potential problems before there’s a crisis.
At Masonicare, the appointment is conducted by an integrated team comprised of a
geriatrician and a geriatric advanced practice nurse (APRN), and when appropriate, a
staff psychiatrist might be called in to assist in the evaluation.
No, assessments can be done for any age-related concern, including dementia. Some
patients already diagnosed with dementia may have developed an additional problem
requiring further review. On occasion, a family might presume their loved one has
dementia, but an assessment may reveal depression. Depression, which is greatly under-
diagnosed in the elderly, must be treated before dementia can be diagnosed. Sometimes,
multiple medications or a combination of medications can be a contributing factor.
No, you do not need a referral. However, a primary care physician (PCP) often refers
patients when he or she feels uncomfortable determining what level of care the patient
needs. Also, a family member can request an assessment for a loved one directly.
The assessment is done on an out-patient basis in Masonicare’s Medical Office Building
on the Wallingford campus. It usually takes about one-and-a-half to two hours, and
includes a physical examination and a thorough cognitive assessment. Patients are
requested to bring all medications and any supplements they may be taking with them to
the appointment, and these should be in their original containers.
The patient is usually accompanied to the appointment by a family member or caregiver.
Immediately following the examination and functional and cognitive assessment, findings
and recommendations are reviewed with the patient and family. Any questions they may
have are addressed at that time.
A written report is usually prepared within 24 hours of the visit. Results are sent to
whoever requested the appointment, typically the PCP or referring physician and
anyone else specified by the family. The report usually includes recommendations
and referrals to outside agencies such as a VNA or other home care assistance, durable
medical equipment services, physical and/or occupational therapy treatment, medication
management, etc. If there are concerns with regard to driving, a referral for a driving
evaluation can be made.
Lastly, a follow-up visit is scheduled for 2-3 months after the initial assessment. The
follow-up usually takes about half an hour. It is designed to review the progress of
any treatment or care plan instituted as well as review any recommended tests, e.g.
bloodwork, CT scan, etc., with the patient and family.
The charge for Masonicare’s geriatric assessment is very reasonable at $225.00 and
is covered at 80% by Medicare allowable and 20% by co- or secondary insurance.
(Typically, long-term care insurance does not cover geriatric assessments.)
Masonicare’s Pathways Program has had a major impact on many families, as we often
identify conditions or offer solutions that other providers haven’t. Once the sound
advice we’ve offered and the recommendations we’ve made have been implemented, we
frequently receive an outpouring of thanks from the family. They appreciate the fact that
we understand what they’re going through and have pointed them in the right direction.
Remember – if physical or mental changes are preventing you – or a loved one from enjoying life as you once did, we are here to help. To learn more aboutMasonicare’s Pathways Program or to make an appointment, please call 203-679-6370 or the Masonicare HelpLine at 1-888-679-9997.