UPMC Physician Resources

UPMC Division of Geriatric Medicine

Ranked among the nation’s top 10 hospitals for geriatric care by U.S. News & World Report, UPMC offers older adult patients access to a multidisciplinary network of comprehensive clinical care. Our geriatricians, all specialists in internal medicine, have additional subspecialty training in geriatrics.

Input from geriatricians is most helpful when the aging process, diseases, and the drugs used to treat these diseases lead to a level of complexity that can result in a person’s physical or mental decline. The field of geriatrics takes a holistic view of health care, using an interdisciplinary approach to help patients maintain self-care ability, remain independent, and age in place.

We also focus on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of geriatric syndromes, including:

  • Memory loss
  • Falls or unsteadiness
  • Decreased appetite or weight loss
  • Depression or agitation
  • Incontinence
  • Generalized weakness
  • Multiple medical issues
  • Multiple medications with possible side effects
  • Loss of self-care ability
  • Functional decline  

Collaborative Geriatric Care and Specialty Consults

Our physicians provide integrated care to patients in every relevant setting, including acute care, ambulatory care, home- and community-based care, and long-term care. 

In addition to providing primary care, we also partner with primary care physicians in the community to co-manage patient care, since many older adults experience multiple health issues that can benefit from a team approach. 

We also provide consultations. A special aspect of these consults is that, in addition to geriatrics, many of our physicians are trained in other specialty fields. This allows us to provide geriatric-oriented input on a wide range of health care issues, including:

  • Falls and gait disorders
  • Chronic pain
  • Osteoporosis
  • Polypharmacy
  • Voiding dysfunction and incontinence
  • Depression
  • Dementia
  • Palliative care needs

Clinical Initiatives to Improve the System of Care

In addition to providing state-of-the-art care and consultation, the Division of Geriatric Medicine is committed to improving geriatric care, in general, and in every relevant setting. For example, we have developed an innovative approach to hospital care — one that is pre-emptive, proactive, team-led, and systems-based, which has enabled us not only to cut lengths of stay and costs, but also to reduce the need for readmission to three-times lower than the national average.

In the outpatient setting, we have developed a Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) for each of our practice sites and modified the standard approach to make it safer and more relevant in the geriatric care environment. As a result, we received the highest level of certification by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).In long-term care, we are continuing to develop a novel way to detect and prevent adverse drug events in real time. In the last year, we also collaborated with UPMC Senior Communities to reduce unplanned admissions from its skilled nursing facilities by 33 percent, which has led to recognition as one of just seven centers in the nation to receive a $19 million award from CMS’ Innovation Center.

  • Equally exciting approaches are allowing us to tackle home-based and institution-based care, as well. Substantial benefits are already emerging in these settings. For instance, our proactive home care program is: Improving patient function
  • Decreasing pain and falls 
  • Reducing the number of nursing home admissions

Geriatric Research and Educational Initiatives

Regarded as one of the nation’s largest and best-equipped clinical programs for older adults, the Division of Geriatrics’ clinical capabilities are augmented by nationally recognized research in a wide range of areas, including:

  • Biology of aging
  • Cancer
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Falls
  • Frailty
  • Heart disease
  • Incontinence
  • Infections
  • Mobility
  • Osteoporosis
  • Pain
  • Pharmacotherapy
  • Resilience
  • Sarcopenia

The Division also has NIH support for a Cancer and Aging Center, an Older Americans Independence Center (Pepper), and several NIH-funded research training grants.

The Division’s educational efforts are also extensive. From training future physicians specializing in the care of older adults, to providing continuing education for clinical professionals, to teaching high school students enrolled in an elite statewide program, we’ve taken a leadership role in educating the physicians of tomorrow.

For more than 20 years, we have hosted “Clinical Update in Geriatric Medicine,” a nationally award-winning course that educates health care professionals involved in the care of older adults. The course provides evidence-based solutions for common medical problems that affect these older, often frail individuals.