Geisinger 65 Forward is taking steps to make sure seniors get the care they need, when they need it — safely.
by Dr. Kenneth Tomczyk, family medicine doctor at Geisinger 65 Forward
Supporting the older adults in your life requires extra care to keep them safe and well during the pandemic. And our Geisinger 65 Forward clinics are here to help.
Here’s what we’re doing to treat those 65 and older while keeping them safe, and how you can help play a key role in an older loved ones’ care.
Checking in on mental health
Many older adults may have struggled with loneliness and isolation before we became faced with a pandemic. Today, those feelings may be worse for some.
People who are isolated have a higher risk of struggling with depression, anxiety and sleep, or developing heart disease or dementia. Call your older family members often to check in and speak with them. If they are set up with video calls, schedule a regular day and time that you’ll call.
As tempting as it is, try not to visit in-person unless it's absolutely necessary. If you do need to visit, make sure everyone wears a mask at all times and wash your hands (or use hand sanitizer) before you get there and after you leave.
Here’s what you can do for them now, without visiting your loved one in-person:
- Send a care package with nonperishable goods, household items and medications — things they may need but shouldn’t have to go to the stores for.
- Schedule weekly video calls to connect with them. You may need to set them up with a video capable device. Remember, this can help them schedule telemedicine video calls with their doctor, too.
- Coordinate activities, like reading the same book or watching a movie at the same time, then calling to discuss them.
Getting care during COVID-19
In addition to checking in on their mental health, ensuring they are keeping up with their physical health is just as important. Today, telemedicine video appointments are more common than ever. With the need to be physically distant, virtual visits they allow doctors to see their patients without being in the same room.
Staying in contact with a doctor this way is extremely important. They know your loved one’s health history and needs and can help them adjust to being at home more, whether that be recommending activities to keep their brain sharp or exercises that help strengthen muscles.
Geisinger 65 Forward is offering telemedicine video visits for those 65 and older to keep on top of their health throughout this pandemic. All that's needed is a video-capable device (like a phone, computer or tablet) to connect instantly with a doctor during a scheduled appointment.
We’re also offering in-person visits for those who need them and taking extra steps to keep everyone safe. These safety precautions include:
- Limiting the number of visitors in our centers.
- Reconfiguring our waiting rooms and exam rooms and expanding the space between chairs so that everyone can stay at least 6 feet apart and practice physical distancing.
- Deep-cleaning and sanitizing all patient areas after each patient.
- Requiring everyone to wear a face mask, including staff, patients and visitors.
- Screening every person who comes into our clinics, including staff members. This includes screening for symptoms of respiratory infection (fever, cough, shortness of breath) and checking temperatures, which are taken using no-contact infrared thermometers.
- Offering free prescription delivery and no-contact curbside pickup at Geisinger Pharmacies. Your loved ones can get their medications delivered right to their doorstep or opt for curbside pickup at one of our Geisinger Pharmacy locations — for free. Learn more at geisinger.org/pharmacy.
It's not too late to join Geisinger 65
Our team is eager to help keep your loved ones’ health on track and is taking extra steps to make our Geisinger 65 Forward centers safe for in-person visits.
When you enroll for care at Geisinger 65 Forward, you’ll get more time with your doctor, more personalized care and easier, faster appointment scheduling — and that hasn’t changed.
This pandemic shouldn’t put anyone’s health on hold — especially older adults. If you’re looking to make a new appointment at Geisinger 65 Forward, we’re ready and waiting to introduce you to a better experience in healthcare.
Call us today to schedule an appointment at our Kingston center at 570-714-3050 or Scranton center at 570-207-5970.
Next steps:Make an appointment with Kenneth H. Tomczyk, DO
Learn more about Geisinger 65 Forward
Seniors worried about getting COVID-19? Protect yourself