History of RGPc

History of Specialized Geriatric Services (SGSs) in our region

We are one of five (5) Regional Geriatric Programs (RGPs) in the province. However, SGSs in our region differs from the other RGPs in that it is a consortium of specialized institutionally and community based services for the elderly incorporating;

  • Geriatric Medicine
  • Geriatric Psychiatry and
  • Chronic Care Programs

How did SGSs develop in our region?

In the mid 1980’s the provincial government developed a strategic plan for a comprehensive system of health services for the elderly (A New AGEnda). Part of the plan was to use the expertise developed by the academic health sciences centres to help improve the quality of geriatric services provided by Ontario’s acute and chronic hospitals.

In its guidelines, the Ministry of Health has defined a regional geriatric program as:

“a comprehensive, coordinated system of health services for the elderly within a region” with the objective of: “assisting the elderly to live independently in their own communities thereby preventing unnecessary and inappropriate institutionalization.”

In 1995 the Regional Geriatric Program of Central South and West integrated Geriatric Psychiatry and Chronic Care services into the existing Geriatric Medicine framework.

Where are SGSs located?

We coordinate specialized health care for the elderly throughout Central South and West regions in Ontario. Major partners in this program typically are:

  • Acute Care
  • Community Care
  • Community Care Access Centre
  • Primary Care

What is the role of SGSs?

SGSs have a complex and dynamic role in the community that continues to evolve as community needs and the structure of health services change over time. The diverse roles of SGSs fall into 4 major categories:

1. Service

Specialized Geriatric Health Services are provided by all the regional geriatric program member organizations. Specialized services include: In-patient units in geriatric assessment, geriatric rehabilitation and geriatric psychiatry; geriatric consultation teams for acute medical and psychiatric units; complex continuing care for geriatric patients; outpatient clinics in geriatric medicine and geriatric psychiatry; geriatric day hospitals; and, geriatric outreach teams.

2. Education

A focus of the various component members of SGSs has been and continues to be the ongoing education of health care providers. The aim is to improve the capacity of the system to deal with complex care issues and to improve its ability to provide preventive strategies for seniors. This strategy optimizes the use of existing resources and reserves specialist services for seniors who have complex and multiple problems.

Educating seniors with complex or multiple needs and their families or caregivers is another priority for SGSs. This education can occur in hospitals, clinics, day hospitals, patients’ homes or in the broader community. Promoting seniors’ health and providing information about effective disease management strategies are primary goals.

3. Research

Sis’s and its component members support, undertake and, when possible, fund research initiatives to learn more about the health needs of older adults and best practice strategies to meet those needs. As part of the research community, SGSs has developed strong links to the Faculty of Health Sciences and the Interdisciplinary Health and Aging Program at McMaster University.

4. Health Promotion

Implementing health promotion initiatives is an important direction for SGSs. As always, we maintain a focus on seniors with complex needs and their caregivers. Building partnerships with community groups is an essential component and ongoing priority for SGSs. We are currently working to establish closer ties with community service providers, advocacy groups and seniors’ groups as a strategy to establish a system which can best meet community needs.