Psychiatry Services for Aging & Mental Health
The Geriatric Psychiatry Clinic provides subspecialty outpatient services for adults ages 60 and older with mental health concerns and/or dementia. The mission of our clinic is to increase access to specialized mental health services and raise awareness and understanding of the unique mental health needs of older adults.
Our clinic offers diagnostic evaluation, consultation, treatment, education, and support for patients with new and ongoing mental health issues. Each initial evaluation of a patient includes a thorough assessment of the biological, psychological, and social factors that can affect their mental health. We may even consult with a patient's loved ones or caregivers to give us a complete picture of the patient's background. All of these factors help our providers develop a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to an individual's needs.
We have an interdisciplinary team of providers, including:
- geriatric psychiatrists,
- psychiatry residents,
- nurse practitioners,
- social workers, and
- other health professional trainees.
As part of a larger academic institution, our clinic is also a teaching site for the next generation of mental health care professionals. Psychiatry residents and health care professional trainees will assist with you or your loved one's care. This hands-on experience will teach them how to treat and manage the unique psychiatric and psychosocial issues of older adults.
We treat all adults ages 60 and older who may be managing a chronic mental illness or problems that appear later in life. Age exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis and may include early onset dementia, genetic predisposition, care partner issues, etc.
We encourage all patients to provide the name and information of a personal contact or a care partner who can accompany them to appointments and be available for emergencies.
We do not see patients:
- who have ADHD, ADD, or insomnia.
- who struggle with substance abuse unless they are enrolled in a therapeutic addiction program consistent with HMHI's Recovery Works. We require e-consults with our psychiatrists before a patient is referred for substance abuse.
- outside of our practice who are only seeking prescription medication, including refills.
What Is Geriatric Psychiatry?
Geriatric psychiatry is a specialized field of psychiatric care for older adults age 60 and older. The goal of our clinic is to maximize the quality of life and functionality of older adults and empower them to live their best life possible.
What Does a Geriatric Psychiatrist Do?
Geriatric psychiatrists have specialized training in late-life psychiatric syndromes such as dementia, depression, and many other common mental health disorders seen in older adults. Their training includes:
- psychotherapy with older adults and their families,
- long-term care psychiatry and consultation-liaison, as well as
- additional training in geriatric medicine and neurology.
Our geriatric psychiatrists and other care team members understand that older adults have unique physical, emotional, and social needs. Understanding this, our team takes a respectful, compassionate, and comprehensive approach to diagnosis and treatment.
Services & Treatments
Our care team provides an array of services to help you or your loved one get the most comprehensive treatment available.
- Medication review and management (in consultation with referring provider when needed)
- Short- and long-term individual therapy (including but not limited to:)
- acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
- cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- motivational interviewing
- humanistic approaches
- Chronic care management
- Professional outreach and community education
- Short-term preventative therapy for mild cognitive impairment
- Evidence-based, personalize dementia education
- Comprehensive cognitive and functionality assessments
- Diagnostic assessments and treatment for new mental health issues
- Referrals for comprehensive neuropsychological testing and neurological brain imaging to assist with diagnostic clarification for mood, personality, and cognitive issues
- Caregiver assessments, support, and mental health services
- Personalized education for families living with loved ones who are psychiatrically or cognitively impaired
- Virtual platform education for patient visits and social engagement, including one-on-one tutorials for MyChart access, virtual visits, and technology use for iPads, iPhones, and Androids
Special Programs at U of U Health
Mental Health Disorders & Conditions We Treat
The following is a non-inclusive list of some of the conditions we treat that are prevalent in older adults:
- Anxiety disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- Caregiver stress: This condition is characterized by the physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion that occurs when a person neglects their own health while they care for an ill, injured, or disabled loved one.
- Memory loss or cognitive impairment
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): A mental health condition associated with significant, intense anxiety. The hallmarks of OCD are obsessions (repetitive, unwelcome thoughts) and compulsions (physical or mental behaviors) that lessen the anxiety associated with obsessions.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Schizoaffective disorder: A combination of psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions, and mood disorder symptoms, such as depression or mania, that can significantly impair a person’s ability to function normally.
What to Expect During Your First Visit
All new patients can expect a welcome phone call to help prepare them for the first visit. You or your loved one will have an initial intake appointment with our social worker who will collect medical, social, and personal history information necessary to develop a comprehensive and individualized treatment plan. For this reason, we may request input from family, loved ones, or caregivers who know the patient well. Patients will then be scheduled for medical care management and/or therapy appointments.
What to Bring to Your Appointment
To make the most of your appointments, please bring the following:
- health insurance card,
- a list of all your medications (prescriptions and over-the-counter), including the dosages and when you take them,
- discharge summaries,
- laboratory reports,
- head imaging reports, or
- copies of other records as applicable.
We strongly recommend that a family member or caregiver accompany the patient to all appointments, particularly those with memory complaints.
Geriatric Psychiatry Care Team
Refer a Patient
All patients must have a referral from a medical provider to be considered for services in our clinic. Internal referrals must be made through EPIC. If you are a referring physician from outside of our U of U Health system, please fill out our online patient referral form or print out the referral form and fax it to 801-587-3631.
Healthcare professionals and established patients may call our clinic line at 801-587-8007 to make appointments or inquire about patient referrals.