Geriatric Medicine

Specialized Care for Older Adults

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Duke's geriatric specialists work with older adults who have a range of health and wellness concerns. After performing a comprehensive evaluation, we recommend an individualized treatment plan that addresses your medical, functional, and emotional needs. Our goal is to maximize your quality of life, help you maintain daily function, and stay as healthy and independent as possible. If you or your loved one is facing a life-threatening or terminal illness, Duke Health also offers end-of-life care through our palliative care and hospice services.

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Care for Older Adults with Medical Concerns

If you are coping with medical problems or cognitive impairment, you may need specialized care and assistance. That’s why our care teams focus on the medical, social, and psychological issues that often affect older adults who may have complex and multiple health concerns.

A Team of Geriatric Specialists
Our geriatric medicine experts complete additional training in geriatrics, which prepares them to meet the unique needs of older adults and deliver the most appropriate care. Our team of geriatric physicians, social workers, psychologists, nurses, nurse practitioners, and physical and occupational therapists work with you and your loved ones to help you prevent and/or manage the chronic diseases, long-term illnesses, or functional decline. In addition, we coordinate care with your primary care doctor and specialists throughout the Duke system, including cardiologists, cancer specialists, neurologists, psychiatrists, and others. We help you adapt to new living environments or impairments, and help you live the healthiest life possible.

Comprehensive Support Services
We work closely with caregivers to help them cope with the emotional, psychological, and physical challenges of living with and caring for a loved one. Our services include evaluation, counseling, and referrals for caregiver stress, daily-living challenges, and issues associated with functional decline and neurological disorders. We also offer long-term care consultation, planning, and referrals. Many of these services are provided through the Duke Dementia Family Support Program, a component of the Duke Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development.

Our Locations

Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.

Geriatric Medicine Programs for All Your Needs

Our holistic approach to geriatric medicine includes a thorough evaluation of each person and their needs. This includes everything from physical evaluations and pre-surgery planning to transitional care if you or your loved one needs home health care or assisted living accommodations.

Duke Geriatric Evaluation and Treatment (GET) Clinic
GET Clinic providers work with older adults, their caregivers, and their primary care and specialty doctors to help each patient enjoy more robust health and a better quality of life.

Pre-Surgery Preparedness Program
Beginning several weeks before your procedure, this single appointment “pre-habilitation” outpatient visit will give you information and guidance to get your body as healthy as possible before inpatient surgery. A team of providers that includes experts in geriatric medicine, anesthesia, nutrition, and physical and speech therapy will offer recommendations for dietary changes or physical therapy that have proven to get patients out of the hospital faster will help speed recovery. You’ll also review a discharge plan so you know what to expect for follow-up appointments and therapy. Our team will also see you following your surgery to help you get back to regular life as quickly as possible.

Geriatric Inpatient Consultations
We provide specialized geriatric consultations at all three Duke hospitals in Durham and Raleigh for older adults who are inpatients at Duke University Hospital due to complex, life-threatening, or chronic conditions including dementia, delirium, and persistent pain, and medication management. Our program draws on resources within the hospital as well as from home health agencies, hospice, local communities, and outpatient providers. We enhance hospital care and help ease the transition to care at home or at other care settings.

Health Optimization Program for Elders (HOPE)
HOPE is a specialized program designed to minimize the challenges that occur when moving care from a Duke hospital to a skilled nursing facility. A nurse practitioner or geriatrician will meet with you and/or your loved one before discharge, then follow up with your facility of choice within 72 hours. These discussions will provide guidance on what to expect when living in a new or different environment, including information on medications, risk of delirium, mood, pain management, therapy plans, and follow-up appointments.

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Physical and Mental Health Programs for Older Adults

If you or your loved one receives therapy or has surgery at Duke, our geriatric medicine experts can provide continued care that focuses on mobility and quality of life.

“On the Move” Falls Prevention Clinic
If you’re at risk for falls, we work with you to address what's causing your falls and how to reduce your risk. After a one-hour consultation, you will work with a nurse practitioner to develop a treatment plan based on your individual needs. You will return in 10 to 12 weeks for a reassessment and learn ways to incorporate changes into long term strategies. In addition to in-person care at the Duke Geriatric Evaluation and Treatment Clinic, you may be able to participate in virtual visits through My Duke Health (previously Duke MyChart).

Outpatient Geriatric Psychiatry Care
We provide psychiatry care for older patients facing mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

Palliative Care and Hospice Care
If you or your loved one requires end-of-life care or is coping with a terminal illness, our skilled and caring geriatricians manage symptoms, ease discomfort -- both physical and emotional -- and provide support to you and your family members. When patients near the end of life, we can offer referrals to hospice and palliative care for additional services and support.

Among the Best Hospitals for Geriatrics in North Carolina

Where you receive your care matters. Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why our geriatrics program is nationally ranked, and the highest-ranked program in North Carolina, according to US News & World Report for 2023–2024.

This page was medically reviewed on 02/09/2021