GERIATRIC PATIENTS who are discharged from inpatient care at The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, may have the option of visiting a sort of therapeutic stepping-stone between the hospital and independent community living. A geriatric day hospital, located on the university campus, allows patients to live at home while completing their rehabilitation at the facility 2 or 3 days a week.
The day hospital, thought to be the first of its kind in the United States, is distinctly different from day-care facilities, whose primary focus, essentially, is to keep content and safe those elderly persons who no longer can function independently.
"The main thrust of the day hospital is to try to get the patient back to some sort of independent living," says Jan MacGregor, MD, instructor in internal medicine in the university's Division of Geriatric Medicine and the day hospital's primary physician.
Independence Has Many Meanings