Maharashtra’s first geriatric treatment centre will be set up at JJ Hospital after the central health department decided to fund such departments in eight states.
Under the ‘National Health Care Programme for Elderly’ scheme, the Centre will give Rs2.13 crore to JJ Hospital in the first year. The hospital will create a special ward for patients over 60 years old with age-related diseases.
Geriatrics is a sub-specialty of internal medicine that focuses on healthcare for the elderly. It aims to treat any disease that a patient is suffering from and to decrease the effects of aging. There is no set age at which patients may be under the care of a geriatrician or physician who specialises in the care of elderly people.
According to senior doctors from the hospital, there is a no dedicated research done in our country on this specialty. “Abroad, they do a lot of research on healthcare for the elderly. Any physician can treat such diseases, but patients can do better if they are treated by specialised doctors,” a doctor said.
Geriatrics is becoming a sought-after medical field, as life expectancies rise. The life span of an Indian is between 60 and 64 years. Better treatment of diseases related to old age can extend life expectancies to 70 years.
Dr TP Lahane, dean of the hospital, said, “We will create a state-of-the-art ward for geriatrics. With the setting up of such a centre, our resident doctors will also get a chance to learn geriatrics.”
He added, “We have planned a 20-bed ward for geriatrics. We have also decided to take some senior doctors on honourary basis. We will give special training to paramedical staff.” Around Rs1 crore from the grant will be spent on the new ward’s infrastructure. The remaining will be spent on buying medical equipment.
Dr WB Tayde, director at the Directorate of Medical Education and Research, said there is no super specialty degree in geriatrics. “But looking at the growing expectancy of human life, we need this degree. We will write a letter to the Medical Council of India to create this degree,” he said.
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