Older adults and seniors now have a healthcare facility tailored for their needs in southwest Houston as Harris Health System recently opened the Bayland Geriatric Health Center.
The facility located next to Bayland Community Center, 6400 Bissonnet, Houston, Texas 77074, offers seniors wellness checkups, geriatric assessments, social services and minor illness care.
“Normally a visit with your primary care physician takes about 20 minutes,” says Melvin Prado, director, Bayland Geriatric. “A geriatric assessment (only performed through a primary care physician referral) is a more comprehensive examination that complements the care a senior receives from a primary care physician. The assessment usually takes about an hour and looks at a variety of things including physical, cognitive and functional abilities.”
The center, staffed by providers from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), will operate from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and will include the expertise of a social worker to evaluate the socio-economic needs of a patient.
“The main goal of every geriatrician and any primary care physician who sees older patients is to keep that individual as functional and safely independent as possible for as long as possible,” says Dr. Faith Atai, medical director, Bayland Geriatric Health Center, and assistant professor, Division of Geriatric and Palliative Care, UTHealth.
Individuals are evaluated in terms of function and cognition, as well as physical complaints. Additionally, physicians will determine patients’ functionality as it relates to how independent they are, and determine whether they might benefit from other help resources to enable them to manage self-care, maintain their home and help prevent falls.
Atai recommends that seniors should be accompanied by a friend or family member who is involved in their care. Appropriate companions may raise relevant questions or concerns, and be able to participate in a patient’s treatment plan with the doctor. Also, she asks that seniors bring with them a list of all their medications or preferably the actual medicine bottles to give the clinician a true picture of care a patient is getting.
“We can tell how the medicines are working, how they interact with other medicines and then can explain the symptoms that could be resulting from certain medication side effects,” Atai says.
While all geriatric assessments at the Harris Health center will be pre-scheduled through a primary care physician’s referral, walk-in patient visits for minor care is welcome.