Geriatrics, or GERIATRIC MEDICINE, is a Board-Certified subspecialty of Internal Medicine focusing on the unique needs of elderly patients. This differs from Gerontology which is simply the study of aging. Geriatric specialists work in a variety of settings including private practice, acute care hospitals, long-term care (LTC) facilities, skilled nursing facilities, assisted living and rehabilitation centers, hospices, palliative care settings, and home care. Geriatricians treat the effects of aging and diseases that commonly occur in patients with advanced age. Such diseases are inherently complex due to a variety of physical, social, cognitive, and pathological factors. Common geriatric conditions include immobility, instability, incontinence, visual impairment, and cognitive decline. When these issues combine with acute problems such as cardiac disease, stroke, infection, or fracture, a Geriatric specialist will often handle all of the interrelated issues. As the aging population continues to increase, Geriatric Medicine specialists will treat an ever-increasing number of challengingly complex patients.
Medical malpractice involving Geriatricians is uncommon. When it occurs, allegations may include delayed diagnosis and treatment of various geriatric conditions as well as complications from treatment itself.