Senior Clinic opens at St. Joseph Medical Center

Anne Xenos, senior care manager for Sister Margaret’s Clinic, points out a new exam room tool that illustrates body parts like the brain so a patient can understand and participate more fully in his/her care. (Marty Denzer/Key photo)

By Marty Denzer
Catholic Key Associate Editor

KANSAS CITY — There are a lot of Baby Boomers in this area, getting older and wiser. Older folks have specific healthcare needs, and there is now an outpatient clinic, Sister Margaret’s Senior Clinic at St. Joseph’s Medical Center, dedicated to serving seniors in the region. In fact, the focus of St. Joseph’s, the area’s oldest hospital, is providing truly great quality care for area seniors, while still providing the same quality care for all ages.

Sister Margaret’s Senior Clinic opened June 5, near the entrance to Building A on the medical center campus at I-435 and State Line Road in Kansas City. Named in honor of Sister of St. Joseph of Albany Margaret Vincent, who helped open the first senior clinic at the hospital years ago, the clinic specializes in the comprehensive, multi-disciplinary geriatric assessment and treatment of adults ages 65 and older, who may be dealing with chronic diseases, many symptoms and social issues. Its physicians and specialists are board-certified geriatricians.

What is a geriatrician? Dr. Ryan Sears, DO, related the specialty to pediatrics. “Just as a pediatrician specializes in caring for young children and babies,” he said, “a geriatrician specializes in the care of older adults. The geriatric community isn’t served as much as it needs. That’s why Sister Margaret’s is here.”

In deciding to open the clinic and direct hospital services and programs toward seniors, the number of senior living facilities, assisted living centers and hospices in the area was taken into consideration. I fact, it may have helped clinch the deal.

Along with providing healthcare for seniors, the clinic offers other benefits to its patients. Transportation to and from the clinic is complimentary, the geriatricians work with a patient’s primary care physician to design a care plan; the hospital’s labs, diagnostic tools and imaging facilities are onsite and screenings and imaging can be done sooner; items including walkers can be delivered to a patient’s home or living facility, and the geriatricians work at living facilities and hospices – they make house calls if needed.

Anne Xenos, the clinic’s senior care manager, said “The patient’s experience, both inpatient and outpatient, is of prime importance. We want patients to have the best experience possible.” She also oversees the seniors program at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Blue Springs. Both hospitals are owned by Prime Healthcare Services of Ontario, Calif., a for-profit chain, but have kept their Catholic identity.

The clinic’s exam rooms are comfortable with famed histories of various implements, including the doctor’s medical bag, the syringe, and the wheelchair hanging on the walls.

In a press release about the new clinic, Dr. Kirk Sloan, Chief Medical Officer for St. Joseph Medical Center, said, “We are committed to bringing the best health care to seniors, to help ease the burden of illness on patients and their families. The new inpatient and outpatient senior program will offer patients coordinated medical services, all in one convenient setting.”

Under the new program, the hospital implemented ISAR, a screening tool to help identify at-risk seniors admitted into the emergency department. The ER also features rooms set aside for seniors, with more space, room for family, extra hearing devices and reading glasses.

Xenos said a new evidence-based screening for seniors will open in the ER’s geriatric suite this fall, so extra support can be provided during hospitalization.

The hospital’s new senior program also includes specialized geriatric education for all ER nurses and clinical staff. Sister Margaret’s Clinic is close to the ER, allowing patients’ doctors to follow up with them on the outpatient side.

“St. Joseph’s comprehensive senior care destination brings together physicians, therapists, home care agencies, geriatric specialists and post-acute care facilities to work side-by-side, allowing teams to share their expertise and information rapidly,” Sloan said. “Access to specialty care in your local community extends our commitment to provide advanced treatment close to home.”

Dr. Sears said that the home environment is just as important as the hospital. “As a geriatrician I need to recognize the steps needed to improve seniors’ ability to function at home. We want them to stay as independent as possible for as long as possible.”

For more information on Sister Margaret’s Senior Clinic, visit stjosephkc.com or call (816) 943-5755.

 

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Thursday
October 19, 2017
Newspaper of the Diocese of Kansas City ~ St. Joseph