Geriatricians may be few in number, but play outsized roles against Covid-19 — Reflections on Covid

In country after country, the evidence on the effects of Covid-19 has been clear — the disease disproportionately affects those who are older and who have underlying health conditions. As cases continue to soar across the United States, much of the focus has rightly been placed on the healthcare workers in our hospitals and urgent care facilities who are bearing up against an inpouring of demand.

Overlooked in this scenario are the geriatricians who are the primary point of care for many of our country’s older adults. I spoke recently with a geriatrician and assistant professor of medicine at the University of California in San Francisco, who also happens to be my niece. She and her husband, who is part of a hospital-based emergency response team, are on the frontlines of the outbreak. In our conversation below she describes her concerns for her patients, how she and her colleagues are managing to provide ongoing care, and the fears that many healthcare workers share of bringing the virus home to their families.

For those of you caring for older loved ones or are providing support to seniors in your neighborhoods, I would encourage you to download this guide from the New York Academy of Medicine that describes a number of easy ways to help and this document which provides specific advice on how to help older adults who do not have access to computers, smartphones, or the internet.

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Originally published on Medium (April 6, 2020)

© William A. Haseltine, PhD. All Rights Reserved.