Professionals hone skills in caring for elderly
Nine years ago, Euclid Hospital’s first geriatric conference took place in the hospital auditorium, and there wasn’t enough room for all the healthcare providers who wanted to attend. “We had to turn people away,” says Ann Coughlin, RN, BS, MBA, who chairs the conference committee. “We could only fit 90 people.”
The following year, the event moved to more spacious environs offsite and since has quadrupled in attendance. That success speaks to the fact that geriatric patients require a different kind of care, says Ms. Coughlin, Wellness Coordinator for community relations at Euclid Hospital. The conference addresses the distinct needs of this population.
Geared toward nurses, physicians, therapists and professional caregivers, the program offers expertise on big-picture issues (dementia and cancer of the older adult, for example) as well as guidance about day-to-day concerns, such as communicating effectively with someone whose senses are failing. “We have to really make sure that a patient who is hard of hearing can hear what you’re saying,” Ms. Coughlin explains. “We have to make sure the patient can see your lips.”
This year, the conference committee is partnering with the Cleveland Alzheimer’s Association to bring in keynote speaker Maria Carillo, PhD, Medical Director for Medical and Scientific Affairs for the Chicago Alzheimer’s Association. The theme for the Nov. 6 event is “Geriatrics: Your Future is Now.”
Ms. Coughlin and other committee members helped develop the conference with Theodore Suh, MD, who specializes in geriatric medicine at Cleveland Clinic. He serves as Medical Director for the conference and the Geriatric Assessment Program at Euclid Hospital.
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