An Integrated Approach to Geriatric Health

Ferkauf Older Adult Program Profiled on American Psychological Association Website

A joint initiative from Yeshiva University’s Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology and Jacobi Medical Center, the Ferkauf Older Adult Program, is one of just six programs to be showcased in a video series on the American Psychological Society’s Psychologists in Integrated Care website. The series provides a behind-the-scenes look at how psychologists in integrated healthcare settings contribute to improved patient satisfaction and better wellbeing by working collaboratively with physicians, patients and families.

Recognizing that elderly patients often struggle with issues whose roots can lie in a combination of medical, psychological and social factors, Ferkauf’s Older Adult Program trains doctoral students in the emerging field of clinical geropsychology by immersing them in integrated care teams focused on a holistic approach to patients’ health. Working together with medical professionals and other services as needed, trainees in the Ferkauf program help identify and treat psychological phenomena which may be impacting an elderly patient’s overall health or are intertwined with  medical issues in ways that could result in emotional consequences which may go unnoticed at a standard primary care appointment. The program also helps to lessen the stigma of seeking mental health treatment for older patients by making the services available at the same time and place as their other medical appointments.

“The typical patient we see is a patient who hasn’t been seen in the mental health services before, hasn’t had any type of mental health consultation and may not even think of their problem as a behavioral problem,” said Dr. Richard Zweig, director of the Older Adult Program and associate professor of psychology at Ferkauf. “We train our medical residents and doctoral trainees to understand how to begin the conversation with such a patient. In doing so, we hope to train the next generation of medical and psychological professionals to meet the mental health care needs of the growing population of older adults in the United States.”

Ferkauf’s is the only program in the New York metropolitan area to provide doctoral-level training to psychology graduate students in clinical work with older adults.