Ochsner provides a comprehensive medical and psychiatric assessment for geriatric patients designed to pinpoint a treatable condition, maximize self-sufficiency and minimize the necessity of institutional care. When an elderly person comes to Ochsner with symptoms that concern the person or members of the family, a mental health professional interviews both the patient and a family member to obtain a history of the condition. A complete psychiatric evaluation is conducted to determine the patient's mental status (for example, memory, ability to calculate and orientation to people and time). Neuropsychological testing is used to identify any possible abnormalities in brain functioning, which might cause symptoms of dementia (deteriorating mental status). Conditions such as depression are treatable and some causes of dementia are reversible. Ochsner staff psychiatrists are nationally recognized for their expertise in these areas. The Ochsner Department of Psychiatry has access to the most advanced diagnostic and testing facilities for any studies needed. It functions as a team with the departments of Internal Medicine and Neurology in order to identify the problem and design the treatment approach that will most effectively return the patient to a life of dignity and productivity.

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