Healthy Aging Clinic offers new type of care for older adults

UC Davis Health providers can now refer patients for age-related services

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Every day in the United States, 10,000 people turn 65. The number of older adults will more than double over the next several decades and represent greater than 20% of the population by 2050.

Rather than wait for this increase, UC Davis Health is taking proactive steps, including opening a new clinic for older adults.

In mid-January, the new Healthy Aging Clinic in midtown Sacramento began accepting referrals and seeing patients. This interdisciplinary clinic is part of the Healthy Aging Initiative, a UC Davis Health systemwide approach to create the healthiest and highest-functioning older adult population in Northern California due to the care, research and innovation at UC Davis Health. The goal is to provide an integrated age-friendly approach to older adults across their lifespan and throughout all care settings.

Interim Medical Director Alia Tuqan, left, checks in with interim practice manager Danielle Guterrez at the new clinic.

“We care for older adults who have a variety of geriatric syndromes,” said Alia Tuqan, a board-certified geriatrician and interim medical director of the new clinic. “We are seeing older adults, especially those with frailty, memory problems and dementia, and gait instability and falls. These older adults tend to be experiencing functional decline, have multiple chronic conditions and are on multiple medications.”

Tuqan joined UC Davis Health in November. Prior to that, the California native served as chief of the Division of Geriatrics at the University of Nevada, Reno, School of Medicine. She leads a team of geriatricians, geriatric nurse practitioners, pharmacists, cognitive specialists, social workers and physical therapists. The goal of the new clinic is to provide comprehensive services that preserve the functionality and independence of older-adult patients, while at the same time supporting their family caregivers. 

“We offer consultation to support caregivers in their monumental role tending to an older adult. We also have training services, so we can teach them how to do complex tasks such as managing medications and caring for wounds,” said Terri Harvath, director for the Family Caregiving Institute at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing. “The inclusion of services and attention to family caregivers sets UC Davis Health apart from other health systems.”

Currently, the clinic is in a soft-launch phase. UC Davis Health physicians can refer their older, more frail patients over the age of 65 via the Healthy Aging Clinic referral in Epic. The clinic accepts all insurance payors, including Medical GMC plans.

“We offer geriatrics consults and family caregiving services,” Tuqan added. “In the coming weeks and months, we will offer neurology, neuropsychology and geriatric psychiatry services.”

A full-scale opening of the clinic is scheduled for late spring or early summer. In the future, the clinic will also be a hub for learners in the health professions, including precepting with nurse practitioner and physician assistant students at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing and medical students and residents at the UC Davis School of Medicine.

Providers interested in learning more or inquiring about services can call the practice manager at 916-731-1831.