The opening of the first one was announced regular geriatric outpatient clinic of the NHS in the “People’s” General Hospital.

Geriatrics is a recognized specialty in all the countries of the European Union, the United Kingdom and the USA, however, it is virtually unknown in Greece, with the result that the care of older people in our country falls short in quality compared to the achievements of developed countries.

The absence of the field of geriatrics and the corresponding services within the framework of the National Health System (NHS) seems even more paradoxical, if we consider that Greece belongs to the countries with the highest percentage of elderly people in Europe.

The commander of the General Hospital of Athens “Laiko” Theofanis Roidis and the director of the 1st Pre-educational Pathology Clinic of EKPA, professor Petros Sfikakis, launched a pilot effort to fill the gap in geriatric services in the NHS. This is the first regular geriatrics outpatient clinic to be established within the framework of the NHS in Athens.

The clinic is coordinated by the specialist geriatrician, specialized in the USA, dr Eurydice Kravbaritis. The aim of the geriatric clinic is the holistic treatment of the complex health problems associated with old age, mainly, gait instability, falls and fractures, depression and memory problems, malnutrition and sarcopenia, urinary incontinence, polypharmacy, vulnerability to infections and skin ulcers .

All of these are also referred to as “geriatric syndromes” and their presence is associated with an individual’s increased risk for helplessness and medical complications.

According to experts, geriatric syndromes are common in the general elderly population, but that does not mean they are normal. Unlike doctors of other specialties, who may simply attribute them to “old age” and avoid investigating them, geriatricians approach them in a systematic way, looking for possible reversible causes, such as it is the lack of vitamin B12 for unsteadiness of walking, or sleep apnea for mental problems.

Each patient is examined based on the principles of thorough geriatric assessment, which addresses five categories of health problems of older people: a) mobility problems, b) psycho-intellectual issues, c) nutritional disorders, d) complexities of diseases, medications and decisions, and e ) geriatric vulnerability, which is assessed by the presence or absence of dysfunction of the muscular system and/or dependence on third parties for the basic functions of everyday life.

In addition, the geriatrician tries to elicit the wishes and value system of elderly patients.

The result is the creation of an analytical file and concise opinion, where the detection and severity of each of the aforementioned Geriatric Syndromes is recorded, and the proposed holistic and individualized plan for their interdisciplinary treatment.

The regular geriatric outpatient clinic in “Laiko” accepts patients 75 years and olderthrough the telephone and online “health line” 1535, or through direct referral from other hospital doctors. Visits are taking place Every Wednesday morning at the outpatient clinic building on Agios Thomas Street in Goudi.

Beyond the direct benefit to the health and quality of life of our elderly fellow citizens, the founders of the new clinic envision that it will be a training center for young doctors in geriatric skills, following the postgraduate study program “Physiology of Aging and Geriatric Syndromes” that operates at the School of Medicine of EKPA from 2019, as well as that they will find imitators in other public hospitals of the country.