Health Center Offers New Model Of Care

Posted on July 17, 2013 by  
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ECHEl Camino Hospital’s Senior Health Center is designed to ensure access to fully integrated, comprehensive care so that seniors can remain healthy and independent as long as possible.

A new approach to senior care, the center, one of the first of its kind in Northern California, provides a “patient-centered medical home” to patients 65 and older, according to administrators.

Patrick Kearns, M.D., a longtime gerontologist and chronic-care expert, serves as the center’s medical director and was instrumental in its creation.

“It is estimated that by the year 2020, Santa Clara County’s population of adults over 65 will reach close to 300,000, nearly double what it is today, and these adults will be dealing with a wide array of chronic conditions like arthritis, diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” Kearns said. “This makes it imperative to have this ‘patient-centered medical home’ model that offers a better way to help them manage their ongoing care.”

Kearns has worked with Silicon Valley’s aging population for three decades, as both a physician and an administrator at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. At Valley Med, he served in leadership roles in chronic-care management, diabetes care, inpatient management, clinical nutrition, primary care and intensive care. He also has served on numerous local and national initiatives and task forces in those areas.

The Senior Health Center’s multidisciplinary team provides integrated care under the direction of board-certified internists and geriatricians who work directly with patients’ current physicians to coordinate services at the center and in the community. Patients have the opportunity to select a primary-care physician, if they do not already have one, and are supported by a care team – a nurse coordinator, a nutritionist, a geriatric case worker, a pharmacist and other experts as needed.

The center supports patients with tools and techniques that help them stay involved in their health-care management. Among those tools is a secure, online patient portal tied to the patient’s medical record. The portal enables patients to communicate with their entire care team, access test results, schedule appointments and track their medical care.

Creating an extensive support network for older adults is an important piece of the medical home concept.

“One of the key differences with the Senior Health Center is that we provide comprehensive care to the patient through an extensive care team, focus on wellness and independence and spend the time needed with each patient and their caregivers necessary to improve health,” said Scott Farr, vice president of Continuum of Care, who works with Kearns. “Here, the patient comes first.”

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