The Medical College Hospital, Thiruvananthapuram, one of institutes chosen to be a Regional Geriatric Centre under the National Programme for the Healthcare of the Elderly (NPHCE), will soon launch the training programme for doctors in specialised geriatric care so that they can help set up geriatric clinics at the district-level.

“All nodal officers of the programme in the eight regional centres across the country have met to decide on the course content. The work on preparing training modules for short- and long-term courses is on. Establishment of geriatric clinics at the district-level may also go hand-in-hand,” D. Dalus, Professor of General Medicine and the nodal officer in charge of the Regional Geriatric Centre, said.

The NPHCE is being initially implemented in 100 districts in the country with poor health indicators, covering 21 States. It is proposed to be extended to all the 640 districts in the country over the 12th Plan period.

The programme envisages the setting up of geriatric wards, rehabilitation centres, and geriatric clinics at the district-level. The focus would be on the preventive, curative and rehabilitative aspects in the geriatric field, on official release said.

The Centre has sanctioned Rs.3 crore for the project, of which Rs.2 crore has already been released to MCH. The Regional Centre will have a multidisciplinary geriatric clinic, a 30-bed inpatient ward and rehabilitation facility.

“The Regional Geriatric Centre will have OP clinics, ward, ICU and rehabilitation facility. We have additional funds for geriatric care provided by the 12th Finance Commission,” Ramdas Pisharody, the Principal of Medical College, said.

“This wing is to be established as a model geriatric clinic for the district-level clinics to follow. We have been given funds for purchasing equipment for diagnostic evaluation of degenerative diseases and rehabilitation therapy, research funds and funds for posting more doctors and paramedics,” Dr. Dalus said.

The MCH started its geriatrics division about 10 years ago and has been running six-day clinics every week. Ageing brings on certain biochemical, hormonal and physiological changes in the system, which will have a bearing on the treatment methods and the drugs prescribed when the elderly patients are admitted to the hospital.

Geriatrics is thus a sub-speciality which functions in close coordination with other medical specialities for giving optimum care for the elderly, he added.