Geriatrics and Senior Services

Patient Care

Many patients age 65 or older who come in with fractures also have other medical issues, which can make care more complex. Heart or lung disease, dementia, diabetes, balance and strength problems or even malnutrition all pose unique challenges, and demand a comprehensive and efficient system to get them on their feet again. Our patients and their family members are part of the team working toward this common goal.

Patient in a wheelchair
The Geriatric Fracture Program at Rhode Island Hospital is specifically designed to address the needs of elderly patients who have suffered a fracture, particularly a hip fracture.

Our team includes specialists in all these areas who are able to treat complicating medical factors and assure that our patients have an integrated, comprehensive plan of care. This includes a rehabilitation plan comprised of physical and occupational therapy that is designed to begin as soon as possible, for the best possible outcome following a fracture. We strive to keep primary care physicians involved in their patients’ care by sending them updates on discharge from the hospital.

Comprehensive Approach

Our team works together to restore mobility. For example:

  • Anesthesiologists use techniques that prevent post-operative complications, lessen pain and improve alertness, so patients can walk safely and participate in physical therapy at an early stage in their recovery.

  • Geriatricians help guide patients to the best methods of pain control, choosing medications that are geriatric-friendly. Additionally, since one fracture increases the risk of having another, our geriatricians educate patients about osteoporosis and make sure they are on osteoporosis medications to guard against future fractures.

  • Physical and occupational therapists begin working on rehabilitation immediately after surgery, because the sooner therapy begins, the better a patient’s outcome.

  • Case management workers assist with discharge planning and play an active role throughout the course of care at the hospital, streamlining discharge and easing patients’ return home.

  • Nurses work closely with the orthopedic team and are skilled in the delivery of geriatric-friendly care.