UH News

Center for Healthy Aging at University Hospitals Bedford Medical Center helps older adults live fuller, more independent lives

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

New program offers senior assessment to identify and manage wellness issues

Bedford, Ohio – University Hospitals (UH) Bedford Medical Center, a campus of UH Regional Hospitals, has launched a new program to help older adults live healthier, more independent lives. The Center for Healthy Aging expands the wide range of services the hospital already offers to the senior community in and around Bedford.

“Healthy aging is successful aging,” says Anne O’Neill, LSW, Manager, Center for Healthy Aging, UH Bedford Medical Center. “Our primary goal is to provide clinical expertise and education to older persons and their caregivers in a collaborative health care environment to ensure that they are active and informed participants in their own unique aging process.”

A critical dimension of the Center for Healthy Aging is the new Senior Assessment Program. It offers people over 65 and their families a resource to identify and manage complex health problems as well as social, emotional and practical living issues. “Our Senior Assessment Program evaluates current and future health concerns an older person might have, as well as their overall wellness,” says Taryn Lee, MD, Medical Director, Geriatric Medicine, UH Bedford Medical Center.

The assessment is a consultative service which primary care doctors are encouraged to utilize on behalf of their older patients. Dr. Lee and the team of geriatric specialists at the Center for Healthy Aging provide detailed recommendations for the patient, family and physician to consider and follow up on as they see fit. “Common concerns we assess include memory; mood; decision-making; mobility; sleep and nutrition issues; medication evaluation; safety; and future care planning” says Dr. Lee.

Each senior’s assessment is customized to fit his or her unique circumstances and medical history. It encompasses cognitive and physical function and, if needed, a home environment evaluation. “For the cognitive component, a person is assessed by a board-certified geriatrician, or nurse practitioner and social worker,” says Kimberly L. Kinder, CNP, CNS, Geriatric Nurse Practitioner at UH Bedford Medical Center. “On site at the Center for Healthy Aging, a physical therapist can evaluate a patient’s balance, fall risk and need for assistive devices.”

If a home assessment is needed, members of the hospital’s Occupational Therapy team will conduct an evaluation of the older adult’s living environment. “They will recommend possible modifications to their living situation or physical setting to better ensure their safety,” says Kinder. “In many cases, home modifications can be made easily and inexpensively.”

The new Center for Healthy Aging will add more inpatient and outpatient clinical services in 2014, including an older adult fracture program; a palliative care program; an inpatient unit devoted to the care of older adults; and a senior health clinic offering same-day appointments for minor health concerns. The majority of these senior services are available within the University Hospitals system only at UH Bedford Medical Center.

In addition to its clinical and educational components, the Center for Healthy Aging will also launch Age Well Be Well, a free membership program, in early 2014. “Age Well Be Well will be designed to encourage and empower older adults in our community to socialize and remain connected,” says Lori Robinson, Membership and Outreach Coordinator, UH Bedford Medical Center. “We will offer seniors discounts at local businesses, social events, fitness programs and opportunities for local travel.”

“The decision to launch a Center for Healthy Aging on the Bedford campus was a strategic one designed to meet a growing need for senior services in our community,” says Richard Hanson, President, UH Community Hospitals and Ambulatory Network. “Nationally and locally, patient populations are aging and we want to be prepared to meet the challenge of caring for them – mind, body and spirit.”

For more information about the Center for Healthy Aging at UH Bedford Medical Center, the Senior Assessment Program and Age Well Be Well membership, call 440-735-4200. If you would like to arrange an assessment, a physician referral is preferred but not required.

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