“If I can get more primary care physicians, that is a good thing. If I can get more geriatricians, that’s even better. But the reality is that all of us are in medicine and collaborating and it is really going to be all of our jobs to take better care of older adults,” he said.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Ohio has been already facing a shortage in the workforce of people to care for older adults.
This includes primary care physicians and specialists such as geriatricians and neurologists who diagnose Alzheimer’s; skilled care workforce such as registered nurses and physical therapists who help treat individuals during the course of their illness; and members of the direct care workforce such as home health aides and personal care aides who help with activities of daily living and some household tasks.
There are some barriers to entering the field of geriatrics.
This includes that it is among the lower paid specialties of medicine. Swagerty said it can be hard to get reimbursed in the current system, when it is easier to get paid for a specific procedure then intense team based care.
“That said, many surveys have shown this is that geriatricians tend to rank among specialties that are highest terms of satisfaction in terms of job satisfaction,” he said.
163: Current geriatricians in Ohio
537: Geriatricians needed in 2050 to serve 10% of those 65 and older
1,611: Geriatricians needed in 2050 to serve 30% of those 65 and older