Geriatric Assessment Outreach Team: Their Move to Virtual Care

Jun 23, 2020 | Submitted by Staff

QCH’s Geriatric Assessment Outreach Team (GAOT) members haven’t missed a beat through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Within days of the pandemic, the team embraced the challenges involved in implementing the local public health directives required to continue to serve the needs of their frail older adult clients. This team did a complete 180 by moving from in-home to telephone assessments allowing them to continue to address the complex medical and functional needs of Ottawa’s community-dwelling frail older adults.

“It’s been a challenge, but an opportunity,” says Sarah Strickey, GAOT Geriatric Assessor and QCH physiotherapist. “While it took creativity to think outside the box to make our program work in this format given how rapidly the situation was evolving, we all feel a sense of pride that the vulnerable older adults we serve have not been forgotten.”
In the early days, the team’s assessment focus shifted to ensuring their client’s basic needs were met. They helped their clients access food resources and made sure they had access to medications. As these immediate needs have been addressed new challenges are emerging such as social isolation and increasing anxiety. The program has developed ad-hoc groups to look at safely transitioning back to in-home assessment and expanding virtual options.

While the program moves forward, change remains the only constant and for this team, they wouldn’t have it any other way!