Outreach Team Touches Homebound and Frail Elderly

Profile of Sunnybrook's Geriatric Outreach Team

J. Sedmihradsky, BSc, MA

Part of the elderly population is not visible within our communities. Older individuals may become homebound and unable to leave their residences to seek out the care and assistance they need to cope with daily living. Fortunately, in Toronto there is a group of people, working on behalf of the Regional Geriatric Program, who comprise a Geriatric Outreach Team. Members of this team visit elderly individuals in their homes, assess their needs and provide them with vital links to community and health services. Similar services operate in other parts of Canada, although they are few in number.

The Regional Geriatric Program (RGP) is an organization that focuses on improving geriatric care in the Toronto area. There are specialized geriatrics services of the RGP operating out of several hospitals within Toronto. These include a Geriatric Assessment Unit, a Geriatric Day Hospital, and the Geriatric Outpatient clinics including a Continence Clinic, the Geriatric Outreach Team and a Falls Prevention Program. The Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Centre branch of the RGP is fortunate in that it has all these services available.

The Geriatric Outreach Team is a unique program that reaches out to frail and homebound older people who do not have access to community services that are offered outside the home.