Latrobe Regional Hospital

Nicholson Geriatric Evaluation and Management Unit (GEM)

People with complex conditions associated with ageing, cognitive dysfunction, chronic illness or disability have access to a range of therapy programs offered by the Nicholson GEM Unit.

The unit cares mostly for people over the age of 70 who are able to take part in therapeutic programs at least three times a week.

It is staffed by a team of health professionals including a geriatrician.

After assessment, you and your carer will be involved in developing a plan that sets goals to be achieved during your stay. Weekly team meetings will be held to discuss your progress and review your goals.

You are able to leave the unit during the day when you don’t have therapy and will be considered for overnight leave if required. Staff will consider the suitability of your destination and your safety.

An occupational therapist may visit your home before you are discharged to ensure it is suitable and safe for your return.

Further therapy or support services will be arranged before you are discharged.


Entry criteria

  • GEM clients are predominantly but not limited to older people over the age of 70 years.
  • You must be willing and have the ability to participate in the therapeutic program.
  • Your medical or surgical condition should not stop you from taking part in therapeutic programs.
  • There are identifiable goals, which are tangible and achievable.
  • Cognitive function does not prevent you from learning.
  • You are able to take part in up to one hour of therapy, three times per week at a minimum.


What to expect during your stay in GEM

  • You will go through an admission process and an initial assessment.
  • A plan will be developed with you and your carer.
  • You will be given an estimated discharge date.


What to bring

  • You will need to wear suitable clothing for therapy such as soft trousers and tops or tracksuits and properly fitting low-heeled shoes.
  • It is recommended you have several changes of clothes to allow for laundering.
  • Swimwear is required for those undertaking hydrotherapy as part of their program.
  • You will need to bring night attire, toiletries, continence aids (if required) and personal grooming items.
  • Any clothing and personal belongings must be clearly labelled.
  • As the hospital is not able to take responsibility for valuable items or money, you are requested not to bring these with you. If you do bring these items, they will be your responsibility. Please advise staff if you require any valuables to be locked in the hospital’s safe.
  • Do not use any small electrical appliances from home (hair dryers, shavers, radios, etc) before advising a staff member. All electrical items require an electrical safety check before use. Ask a staff member to arrange this for you.


Admission Process and Initial Assessment

  • On admission you will be familiarised with the layout and facilities of the unit and therapy areas.
  • You will meet the team that will be looking after you. These will include nurses, doctors, therapists and a geriatrician.
  • The team will begin your assessment and formulate a plan.



  • Following your assessment, a goal-orientated plan will be developed. This will include therapy times and other activities. Your therapy timetable will be located on a board in your room.
  • You are encouraged to participate in the communal aspects of the GEM unit.
  • As part of your therapy, you are encouraged to attend the dining room for meals.
  • You may be asked to carry out exercises or activities relating to your goals outside your therapy session times. This is an important part of your program.
  • Weekly team meetings will be held to discuss your progress and to review your goals.
  • If necessary a meeting between you, your family and GEM team members will be organised.
  • Outcomes of meetings and assessments will be discussed with you and your family or carer.


Team Members



The geriatrician is a specialist doctor who is responsible for the medical management and direction of the Nicholson GEM Unit. Day to day medical treatment is provided by the hospital medical officer or doctor assigned to the unit. Your general practitioner will be informed of your progress on discharge.



GEM nurses have a special interest in geriatric nursing. They are trained to help you help yourself by promoting independence and providing education and support for you and your family during your stay.


Social Worker

Social Workers provide support, counselling and advice in relation to personal and financial issues or other problems.

They also are a valuable source of information and are able to provide assistance regarding availability of community services, transport and accommodation facilities and organise necessary supports for discharge including links to community services.



Physiotherapists work with people to achieve the highest level of function possible in relation to strength, endurance, balance, coordination, walking and mobility.

Physiotherapy encompasses a range of active exercises and treatments which may include hydrotherapy depending on your specific needs.

Any problems related to mobility in the hospital or at home will be addressed by your physiotherapist.


Occupational Therapist

The aim of occupational therapy is to maximise your ability to function in all areas of daily living.

Your occupational therapist will assess your ability to perform activities of daily living, and will identify any areas of difficulty.

Special equipment may be recommended to assist you in your daily activities.

An assessment of your home environment may also be conducted to ensure you can function safely after discharge. Home modifications such as rails or ramps may also be recommended.



The orthotist assists with any movement or functional problems by using devices such as splints, callipers or braces.


Speech Pathologist

The speech pathologist offers therapy and advice to people who have difficulty with:

  • speech and communication
  • understanding language
  • reading and writing
  • swallowing and eating
  • intellectual abilities, such as memory, concentration and problem solving.



The dietitian's role is to ensure you receive the right nutritional intake and dietary advice to help your recovery.

A dietitian may come to see you if you have lost weight, have a poor appetite or delayed wound healing. You may also receive advice if you have unstable diabetes or require revision of its management or your weight is affecting your medical condition. You may also have a condition that requires a special diet.



Visiting Hours

Monday to Friday 3pm-8pm

Weekends 10am-8pm

If you need to visit someone out of hours, you will need to arrange this with the nurse in charge.



During your stay in Nicholson GEM you may wish to take or be encouraged to take day leave. Overnight leave may also be taken.

Staff will take into consideration the suitability of the environment where you will be going, your safety and your therapy times before leave is approved.

Any medication you are taking will be provided to you before you take leave.



  • Plans for your discharge will commence soon after your admission.
  • It may be necessary for an occupational therapist to visit your home to ensure the environment is suitable and safe for your return.
  • If you are being discharged somewhere other than home, this will be discussed with you and organised appropriately.
  • Any medications, community services or additional therapy you require will be arranged before your discharge.
  • You or your family or carer are responsible for arranging your transport home. If there are difficulties with this, discuss your concerns with nursing staff or the social worker.
  • We request you arrange to be picked up before 10am on your discharge day.

Tags: GEM

Our tax time appeal for mums-to-be

Help us bring the next generation of Gippslanders into the world safely. Support our appeal to purchase a new ultrasound machine.

The latest ultrasound equipment will provide our obstetricians and midwives with superior imaging quality of an unborn baby to monitor their growth and health. If we can pick up on changes in a baby's development, we may be in a better position to prevent complications during birth.

Click on the Make A Donation link or contact LRH Fundraising on 5173 8577. 

Latrobe Regional Hospital

Better health services close to home

Quick Contact Details

For Emergencies Call: 000
Ambulance / Fire / Police

General enquiries
For general enquiries to Latrobe Regional Hospital
Telephone: 03 5173 8000 - Fax: 03 5173 8444

Feedback about our service
Read about our feedback process. You can download a feedback form here or tell us what you think about our service by filling in an online form

Emergency Department
For calls to Latrobe Regional Hospital’s 
Emergency Department Telephone: 03 5173 8222
For emergency assistance telephone 000

Mental Health Triage
Single point of entry for referral to Latrobe Regional Hospital
Mental Health Service Telephone: 1300 363 322
For emergency assistance telephone 000. Learn more

10 Village Avenue, Traralgon West, Victoria, 3844
PO Box 424, Traralgon, Victoria,3844
ABN: 18 128 843 652

Alternative contact information


Department of Health and Human Services

The Department of Health and Human Services brings together the former Department of Health, Department of Human Services and Sport and Recreation Victoria to support and enhance the wellbeing of all Victorians.

Health Channel

Information on the Better Health Channel is provided to help you stay healthy or understand and manage your health and medical condition.