Initial Assessment

The faculty of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania section of geriatric psychiatry specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness in older adults. Such illnesses may include: depression, dementias, bipolar disorder, anxiety, late-onset schizophrenia, and certain medical conditions. Co-existing issues may include familial and environmental concerns, difficulty coping with major life changes, medications, and physical illnesses.

Our physicians take a comprehensive approach to understanding the individual needs of older patients and their families. Because the symptoms of late-life mental illness may be a continuation of a long-standing condition or the presentation of a new one, an initial assessment begins with a thorough medical, psychiatric, family, and social history. In order to aid in the assessment, the latest in diagnostic testing, including brain imagining and laboratory testing may be ordered as needed.

Once a diagnosis is made, treatments that address both the patient’s symptoms and the needs of loved-ones and caregivers are offered. This may involve collaboration with other physicians and health-care providers. Patients and families also receive education on the nature of their condition and on appropriate therapeutic interventions.

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