At life’s extremes, young and old, the foundations of good physical and psychological care are centered in the home. In modern society we add on layers of care: neighborhood, community or state, when the foundations are stressed.
The nonprofit Mystic Geriatrics Institute (MGI) was incorporated in 2015 to help coordinate this care and educate at the community level. How can we harness the talent in our communities and foster a team spirit directed at our valuable and often fragile 80 and 90-year-olds? As a kick-off to answering this question, the MGI hosted the SeniorsStrong Summit last May, drawing a diverse audience of over 120 people. This inaugural event explored strategies to enhance the quality of life while promoting health in our Southeast Connecticut and Shoreline Rhode Island senior communities.
Medical care has moved from the home into the doctor’s office or hospital. Capturing the experience of the geriatric patient in its entirety, the “whole person “ approach, has been lost in our medical care routines. “Our primary mission is to look at and help design an ideal community environment for the older adults in our region,” said Mary Riley MGI president. “We want to promote access to geriatrics professionals in medicine, law, nursing and care management. We will enhance access to helpful information and train family and workers to be better caregivers,” she said.
The Institute, after assessing existing medical practice for our seniors locally, concluded that access, quality and cost effectiveness can be improved by bringing doctors and nurse practitioners into the home. Doctors Michael Feltes and Chris Morren, MGI think tank participants, both agree.
“The future of senior medicine will be in home care,” said Dr. Morren. Dr. Feltes, a geriatrician with a family practice background and geriatric nurse practitioner Karen Terwilliger have been practicing in this new model for two years, receiving outstanding patient and family reviews. Mystic Geriatric patients get around-the-clock access to the doctor and nurse practitioner for routine and minor emergency services in their homes (or at his office).
“For most of our seniors getting out of their home and going to the doctor is a big deal,” said Dr. Feltes.
“In the homes of patients, many times with family alongside, the whole ‘patient approach’ can be employed. Stronger clinical relationships can be achieved,” said Dr. Morren.
The MGI is presently sponsoring two working groups.
The first, a gathering of clinicians, will work to canvas the region and coordinate healthcare resources in an effort to meet the health needs of frail and/or isolated seniors in their homes.
The second working group aims to enhance access to legal, social and health resources through teambuilding, education and broadcasting.
The Institute will also be examining the struggles faced by caregivers.
Riley, whose background is in work-life balance said, “There is a tremendous loss of productivity in our society with working family members serving as primary caregivers to elders in an attempt to keep them home. Child care lasts for about five years; elder care lasts and lasts.”
A parent who is 80 could, conceivably, be dependent on their children for another 20 years. There is a big need for change,” she said, adding “there is a growing need to address primary caregiver health, and the needs of the ‘sandwich generation’.”
For more information visit the Mystic Geriatrics Institute website at www.mysticgeriatricsinstitute.com.or call 860-415-9808. For more information on the Mystic Geriatrics medical practice website, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 860-536-5302. They are also on Facebook.