Advocates of the Aging Population

Osler Geriatrics offers an ongoing commitment to patient care, advocacy and medical education

It has been a busy past four months with several changes for the group at Osler Geriatrics, which is now part of Wuesthoff Health System. That said, the quality care patients have come to expect from the practice remains in place.

Specifically, the team at Osler Geriatrics continues to provide medical care for residents in skilled nursing and assisted living facilities throughout Brevard County. Their operations office remains located near Downtown Melbourne. Operations of their outpatient clinic at Buena Vida Estates in West Melbourne also carries on. Furthermore, the team continues to advocate for all residents in these facilities at both the local and state level.

TRANSITIONS OF CARE

One example of this advocacy involves improving transitions of care within Brevard County. “Improving transitions of care will help ensure that important patient/resident information is passed from one level of care to another,” says JoAnn Fisher, FNP.

Initiated by Fisher, the Transitions of Care (TOC) Task Force has now joined forces with Brevard County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in an ongoing effort to improve transitions between the long-term care (LTC) facilities, transport companies, like Coastal Health Systems of Brevard, and hospitals. “The task force has begun to work very effectively at resolving or at least bringing about discussions to resolve issues and concerns between these agencies,” adds Fisher.

John McPherson, M.D., medical director of EMS, and Orlando Dominguez, chief of EMS, presented newly developed protocol for transfer of dementia residents at the quarterly TOC/EMS meeting in February. This protocol allows facilities to transfer residents to the hospital as needed when they no longer have the ability to make medical decisions.

“This empowers the medics to transfer these residents despite their possible refusal,” explains Fisher. “Since the open discussions about this issue, LTC facilities are stepping up to identify residents who may no longer have medical decision-making capacity and are working to assure that proper documentation is on the chart.”

LOBBYING FOR NEW LEGISLATION

Another example of Osler Geriatrics’ advocacy involves lobbying for new legislation which would exclude skilled nursing facilities from following the requirements of the so called “Pill Mill Bill.” A recent poll of LTC physicians and nurse practitioners, conducted by the Florida Medical Directors Association, indicates that 98 percent of these health care providers feel that the current legislation will impede the ability of nursing home residents to receive adequate and timely treatment of their pain.

John H. Potomski, Jr., D.O., CMD, chairman of the Brevard County Commission on Aging and medical director of Osler Geriatrics, has made several state agencies and organizations aware of the unintended, but potentially negative effects that the current law may have on residents in LTC facilities. A coalition has been assembled to educate state legislators regarding this issue and has proposed several pieces of new legislation to support this effort.

“Osler Geriatrics is committed to ongoing education of the medical community,” says Dr. Potomski. “We have been working with LTC facilities to provide state-of-the-art medical care which will improve patient outcomes and reduce unnecessary hospitalization.”

Representatives from LTC facilities and Wuesthoff Health System met in January to discuss ways of working together to achieve these goals.

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