Back to the future: celebrating 25 years of geriatric care

May. 05, 2011

Seniors make up the fastest-growing age group. According to Statistics Canada, in 2005 1.6 million Canadians were 65 years of age or older. In 2010 that number rose to 4.8 million, and it is expected to increase to 10.4 million by 2036. By 2051, it is anticipated
1 in 4 Canadians will be 65 years of age or older.

To keep our aging population healthy, over 450 health care providers from Southwestern Ontario are gathering at a conference on May 4 to learn from experts in geriatric medicine.

“This year we are celebrating our 25th annual Geriatric Medicine Refresher Day which has tripled in attendance since its inception,” says geriatrician Dr. Laura Diachun. “This year’s conference will highlight just how far we've come in our management of common geriatric issues including our understanding of sleep disorders, our approach to persons with dementia, our understanding of the role of diet in overall health, and new paradigms of care in the setting of stroke and Parkinson’s disease.”

“We are absolutely delighted with the overwhelming interest this conference is generating,” adds Laura. “Health care practitioners are making care of the frail elderly a priority.” 

Geriatrics deals with the unique needs of the frail elderly in a comprehensive, interprofessional manner. The conference is hosted by the division of geriatric medicine at The University of Western Ontario’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and supported by St. Joseph’s Health Care, London’s specialized geriatric services.

When:       Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Where:      London Convention Centre
Time:        8:20 am to 3:45 pm

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For more information, please contact:
Anne Kay, Communication and Public Affairs
St. Joseph’s Health Care London
Phone: 519-685-4000, ext. 42470
Conference chair

Dr. Laura Diachun BASc., MEd., MD, FRCPC, is a geriatrician and associate professor with The University of Western Ontario. Her goal is to foster medical student interest and improve student attitudes in Care of the Elderly.  She is Co-director of the Elder Care Clinical Clerkship and is a lead education physician with the Southwestern Ontario Regional Geriatric Program Education Group whose mandate is to enhance the capacity of smaller communities to deliver excellence in geriatric care in their own communities.

The organizations

St. Joseph’s Health Care, London is a major patient care, teaching and research centre with a legacy of service to London, Southwestern Ontario and the veterans of Canada. St. Joseph’s five key role areas are acute/ambulatory care, complex care and veterans care, long-term care, rehabilitation and specialized geriatrics and specialized mental health care. Facilities and services include St. Joseph’s Hospital, Parkwood Hospital, Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care and Regional Mental Health Care London and St. Thomas. Our research arm, the Lawson Health Research Institute, develops new knowledge that is continually being applied directly to patient care. St. Joseph’s is affiliated with Western.

The Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at The University of Western Ontario provides undergraduate education in medicine, dentistry and medical sciences, and postgraduate training and research programs through 25 basic and clinical departments. It is a leader in patient-centred and community-oriented medical and dental education and in health research.

The Southwestern Ontario Regional Geriatric Program (RGP), based at St. Joseph’s Parkwood Hospital, is one of five such programs in Ontario that provide a comprehensive network of specialized geriatric services. RGPs are a key element in the provincial framework of services meeting the needs of Ontario's aging population. The RGP serves the frailest and most vulnerable seniors by working in collaboration with primary care physicians, community health professionals and others.

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