Sunflower Medical and Wellness Overseeing Wellbeing of Hundreds of Assisted Living Residents In Brevard
By Space Coast Daily // December 23, 2018
Transition of Care is Nightmare
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – During her rounds seeing patients at assisted living facilities in the Brevard area, Dr. Geetha Priyanka realized the challenges these homes were facing in caring for their residents.
“My heart goes out to them,” she said.
“They serve the community by opening their doors to many people who need more assistance in their activities of daily living or may end up homeless or neglected in many instances. They are extremely good and caring, but the complexity of their residents’ medical problems burdens them.
“These assisted living facilities have used the hospitality model for years, not the medical model like nursing homes, but currently, they are being forced to run as mini-nursing homes, given significant changes in the demographics of the population.”
Approximately 170 assisted living facilities in Brevard that includes small and larger facilities, many of them with 12 or less beds, serve more than 5,000 population in the county.
Although typically these facilities have less stringent staff requirements than larger nursing homes, these homes are caring for almost the same type of individuals: the aged and infirm who are on multiple medications and who are suffering from complex medical issues that require care from multiple providers.
These patients may be routinely in and out of emergency rooms and hospitals, returning with changes to their medications and treatments.
Transition of Care is Nightmare
Medicare requirements do not apply to these facilities, making for a struggle for health care systems and physicians to include them as partners in many of their initiatives.
The end result is that no one in the care team is on the same page and errors in treatment can happen easily.
“For physicians and providers, the transition of care is a nightmare,” said Dr. Priyanka.
While larger facilities have access to technology that streamlines the up-to-date maintenance of resident records to at least some extent, smaller homes do not have even that luxury.
Record keeping may not be computerized and orders may be faxed in pages-long faxes that are inefficient and susceptible to errors in fax transmission or in the legibility of instructions, leading to errors in medication.
Families of residents in these facilities also have trouble keeping up to date with their loved one’s medical history.
“They may have no access to current meds or other health information,” added Dr. Priyanka. “To reach providers involved in their loved one’s care is even harder, as they all operate separately.”
Sunflower Medical and Wellness Focuses on Assisted Living Centered Medical Home
Using her experience accumulated through the years in her West Melbourne internal medicine practice, Dr. Priyanka has helped to launch Sunflower Medical and Wellness Consulting to improve the quality of medical care in the setting of assisted living communities both small and larger.
The company focuses on the Assisted Living Centered Medical Home, or ACM, a connection that links the home with medical providers, residents’ families and anyone else involved or interested in their wellbeing.
The model, which centers around each assisted living facility using hub and spoke model, encompasses hospitals, physicians, home health providers, labs, pharmacies, insurance companies, families and hospices through single cloud connection to all 170 plus facilities if need be.
“We are also focused on the challenges faced by each provider and how we can help the providers meet these challenges, so they can focus on providing quality care to their residents,” said Dr. Priyanka.
Using ACM as a medical home network, the facility, as well as all ancillary providers and the resident’s family, will have real-time 24/7 access to the patient’s current list of medications, diagnoses, vital signs, list of allergies and pertinent electronic messaging.
Launched in Five Phases
The program has already been launched and is overseeing the wellbeing of 300 assisted living residents in Brevard currently. The number is anticipated to reach more than 600 by the end of the year. ACM will be launched in five phases during a two-year period.
Facilities that have connected to the program include Buena Vida Estates, Glenville Pines ALF, K&S Tender Care, Living Seniors, Inc., Paradise Hill, Peace Haven, R&C Ultimate, Rome’s Paradise, Serenity ALF, Velrose, Wisteria AFCH and Isaiah.
Home health agencies include Family Home Health, Home Health Care of Florida Mederi Care Tender and Kindred Home Care.
Additionally, Harmony Senior Living, Guardian Pharmacy, Malabar Pharmacy and Savers’ Drug Mart are part of the ACM family, as are Dr. S. Giorgianni, nurse practitioners Brenda Britten, Natuko Okamura and Jennifer Santiago and Dr. Geetha Priyanka, of course.
Quarterly Information Sessions
Dr. Priyanka anticipates ACM can also serve as a marketing tool that will reassure families of prospective residents of these smaller facilities that they will be able to stay connected and up-to-date with their loved one’s care and care providers.
“Assisted living facilities see the need and the benefit to their residents instantly and the facilities that are focused on caring their residents’ overall health and pioneer in their approach want to be part of this project immediately, as they see this can correct the pitfalls they have in their current setup,” said Dr. Priyanka.
“As a physician and community partner, I see I can benefit this population better with the use of ACM.”
The company is hosting quarterly meetings to educate the industry on the project.
Sunflower Medical and Wellness is located at 948 S. Wickham Road, Suite 101, West Melbourne. For more information, call 321-987-9660.
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