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					                                                                                                                   Letters to the editor

ROLE       OF GERIATRICIANS                     IN LONG-            2. Being a physician           is a vocation     as well as a
TERM       CARE                                                         profession.     Being a geriatrician      is life-long. No
                                                                        medical doctor is as devoted to elderly people as
Dear Editor,                                                            we are and we are the most knowledgeable                  on
                                                                        the subject of aging. This implies that we have to
    To dear colleagues        in geriatric   medicine,                  trust. ourselves that we own the ability to discover
                                                                        innovative      solutions       to whatever      problems
Do we have a dream?                                                     concerning     elderly people. We can contribute          by
  That we create a comprehensive,            continuous,                expressing     our views no matter the opinion is
   and caring service for our patients.                                 the same or is different from the important others.
  That we can have the earliest treatment needed                    3. Assessment instruments             are powerful tools and
   for our elderly patients.                                            have to be prudently          used. In every steps from
  That we help our patients          to have maximum                    the development        to action planing embody value
  functional     independence,     autonomy,    quality of             judgements.       The interpretations       depend on the
  life, comfort, and dignity.                                           mental state and beliefs of the beholder.               The
  That we do not trade our credit and the noble                         recommendations          and decisions made have far-
  doctor-patient      relationship   for the advantages                 reaching effects to the individuals         and inevitably
  of anybody.                                                           the society in terms of economics and politics.
                                                                       This implies that we have to be fully aware of our
    At the present stage of development of long-term                    emerging       role.     We are not only medical
care (LTC) in Hong Kong, it may be appropriate       to                 consultants.      If Hong Kong people want well-
predict the next phase and prepare for it.                              organized     system,       it is the best to have the
                                                                       geriatricians          serving      as the managers/
1. LTC is the bread and butter of geriatric medicine.                  gatekeepers and medical directors of a variety of
   Geriatricians    are unique that we can care the                     care settings.
   patient along a continuum          of contexts with direct
   medical control. This implies that we, as a group,                  Let us have a moment of meditation.   How much
   have      to maintain          and request           greater     we value a geriatrician's dream? Are you optimistic?
   responsibilities   and authority        in multiple levels       Do you opt for the dream?
   of care e.g. community,           preventive,       primary,
   acute hospital, peri-operative,         palliative,    end-of-       An ordinary member.
   life, home, rehabilitation,      convalescence, nursing              (name supplied)
   homes, infirmaries      ......

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