South Side Senior News & Notes
Summa’s senior services expand in Barberton, Wadsworth
GREATER AKRON — Older adults can get more care at Summa Barberton and Wadsworth-Rittman Hospitals. According to Summa officials, these hospitals will offer inpatient and outpatient senior services as well as palliative care, services already offered at Summa Akron City Hospital.
According to Summa officials, senior services at Summa Barberton Hospital will include an inpatient-dedicated acute care for elders (ACE) unit for older adults with complex medical cases and syndromes. The unit’s multidisciplinary team includes a geriatrician; a certified nurse specialist; a pharmacist; nurses; case management workers; therapists and social workers. Geriatricians also will offer inpatient geriatric assessments that can help identify problems such as delirium, dementia, falls and balance issues, depression or complicated social situations, and provide care recommendations, according to Summa officials.
Adults of any age also can receive specialized care for chronic illnesses in the hospital’s inpatient acute palliative care unit (APCU), according to Summa officials. The APCU unit’s team, made up of a physician, nurse practitioner, social worker, dietician and spiritual care worker, works together to provide progressive treatment for pain and symptoms associated with serious and advanced illnesses, and address any emotional, social and spiritual issues. As part of the hospital discharge process, patients are connected to a variety of resources, including follow-up appointments, community agencies and home-care services.
According to Summa officials, Summa Wadsworth-Rittman Hospital will open an outpatient Center for Senior Health to improve the health, quality of care and functional status of older adults with complex medical problems. Patients and their families will meet routinely with a geriatrician and social worker to evaluate the health, functional status and cognitive ability of the patient, according to Summa officials. Teleconferencing also is available for patients’ families who may not reside in the area.
The patient’s geriatrician will work with the patient’s primary care physician to implement an appropriate, personalized care plan and provide support services based on the patient’s medical conditions and needs, according to Summa officials.
“Chronic conditions and issues relating to older adults require significant time and attention,” said Dr. Cathy Maxwell, medical director of Senior Services at Summa Barberton and Wadsworth-Rittman hospitals and a physician with Summa Physicians in Geriatric Medicine. “We want caregivers to know that they are not alone and that we understand how hard caring for a loved one can be. Our goal is to share our team’s knowledge and experience in order to provide caregivers with the advice, accessible care and support they need to help make their loved ones as independent and safe as possible at home.”
For more information about senior services at Summa Health System, call 888-720-5318 or visit www.summahealth.org/seniors.
State agencies launch campaign to help older adults reduce risks of falling
COLUMBUS — An autumn campaign to encourage all Ohioans and their loved ones to educate themselves about the risk of falls and fall-related injuries that increase in age kicked off Sept. 22 with Falls Prevention Awareness Day.
Sponsored by the Ohio Department of Aging (ODA), the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and the Ohio Older Adult Falls Prevention Coalition, the theme for the 2012 campaign is “Know where your feet are!”
“Falls represent a critical public health threat to older adults,” said Dr. Ted Wymyslo, director of the ODH. “An older Ohioan falls every two-and-a-half minutes on average, resulting in two deaths per day, two hospitalizations per hour and an emergency room visit every eight minutes. These preventable injuries cost Ohioans more than $4.8 billion each year. Yet, falls are not a normal part of aging.”
The ODA has released the following five steps to help prevent falls:
• Increase your physical activity. Simple exercise, like walking or swimming at least 15 minutes a day, can help build muscle strength and improve balance, which can prevent falls.
• See your eye doctor once each year. Age-related eye diseases, such as cataracts, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, can increase the risk of falling.
• Review your medications. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the medicines you are taking and whether they may cause drowsiness or dizziness.
• Remove environmental hazards. Look around the house for anything that could increase the risk of falls, including poor lighting, loose rugs, slippery floors and unsteady furniture.
• Think, plan and slow down. Many falls are caused by hurrying.
“Your risk for falling goes down the minute you stop being afraid of falling,” said Bonnie Kantor-Burman, director of the ODA.
Individuals and families also can contact their Area Agency on Aging or local health department to learn about available trainings and resources designed to reduce the risk of falls or go to: bit.ly/NoFallsOhio.
Area Agency on Aging 10B, which serves Summit County, can be reached at 330-896-9172.
For the Summit County Health District, call 330-923-4891, and for the Medina County Health Department, call 330-723-9688.
Ariel Hakim contributed to this report.
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