Supporting seniors with complex medical conditions

Seniors group

The word ‘rehabilitation’ is often connected to recovery from a physical ailment, like a broken bone but its benefits stretch far beyond regaining strength and mobility. North York General Hospital offers a different kind of rehab program, geared for older adults living in the community – it helps restore confidence and regain independence.

“Our Specialized Geriatric Outpatient Services is a one-stop shop for frail adults living in the community who need to improve their functional ability. Older adults often express their frustration of trying to navigate the system. Here, we put it all together for them under one roof,” says Norma McCormack, Clinical Team Manager with the Specialized Geriatric Services at North York General Hospital (NYGH).

Norma McCormack
Norma McCormack, Clinical Team Manager with the Specialized Geriatric Services at NYGH

The program is part of North York General’s Geriatric Day Hospital and includes assessment, treatment, rehabilitation and education for those with complex medical conditions, aged 65 and older. Operating as a medical rehab model, or mini hospital, the interdisciplinary team includes physicians, nurses, occupational therapy, pharmacy, social workers, and physiotherapy.

“Having a direct connection to doctors and pharmacists made things very convenient. My family and friends were also encouraged to be part of my care, attending my assessment and discharge meetings, which was also reassuring,” says Judith, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease before turning to the program.

The outpatient program caters to older adults and is situated in an area where many seniors are already living. The community of North York is made up of one of the largest senior populations in the country.

“The program is aimed at helping seniors maintain their sense of dignity and independence by keeping them home and out of hospital as long as possible, which makes a significant difference in a patient’s well-being. We’re seeing firsthand the positive outcomes, whether it be an improvement in mobility, function, balance, nutrition, or mood,” adds Norma.

The Geriatric Day Hospital also offers recreational therapy, which is an added compliment to the program – from painting to baking, it helps increase socialization among patients. North York General also partners with community agencies to offer exercise classes for those who wish to continue working on their physical goals, even after the program is completed.

Geriatric Day Hospital team
Geriatric Day Hospital team

“Meeting like-minded people who come together in a safe, respectful and informed environment is an important part of recovery,” adds Judith. “It was a wonderful experience and I left the program with a lot of valuable health information.”

The Day Hospital operates Monday to Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 12 noon. Sessions include Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday based on availability. Length of stay will be determined after initial assessments are completed by the Specialized Geriatric Team.

Who should be referred?
  • Adults aged 65 and older

  • Those with multiple medical needs

  • Not a resident of a long-term care facility

  • Those willing to participate within a group setting 

Access the Specialized Geriatric Referral Form

This article first appeared in the November 2019 issue of The Pulse.

To receive North York General Hospital's community newsletter, subscribe now.

Share this article