W. Anthony Riley, MD, has served as the Medical Director of Gilchrist Hospice Care since its inception in 1994 in addition to serving as Medical Director for Gilchrist Greater Living, a group of physicians who serve frail and elderly patients across the continuum, from GBMC to nursing homes and assisted living facilities to palliative care to hospice. He joined the medical staff of GBMC in 1983 and also serves as the Medical Director of Senior Services.
During his primary care fellowship, part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s support of primary care in the 1970s, he worked with elderly patients in a senior living facility in Baltimore where he first realized his affinity for working with geriatrics. “The wisdom of these elderly patients inspired me to enter the geriatrics, palliative medicine and hospice fields,” says Dr. Riley, who learned early in his career the healing power of the doctor-patient relationship.
Since the 1980s, Dr. Riley has used this understanding to help create programs and services at GBMC and Gilchrist Hospice Care that have grown the geriatrics, palliative medicine and hospice programs into one of the region’s most esteemed services. Adding some of the top clinicians in the field has also helped the division attend to the unique physical and emotional needs of seniors. Today, GBMC has many services that cater to seniors, from the Acute Care for the Elderly (ACE) Unit to palliative care and end-of-life services. Dr. Riley has also focused on bedside clinical care for the elderly as well as on building great systems that are designed to respond to the unique physical and emotional needs of seniors and individuals at the end of life. “With the elderly and those at the end of life, it’s not always about treating disease, but about following the patient’s lead, establishing relationships, and understanding their needs and goals for care.”