Message from the President - Summer 2015

jim schlaman talks to crowdLiving Longer, Living Well

The growth in the number and proportion of older adults is unprecedented in the history of the United States. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that over the next 25 years, two factors—longer life spans and aging baby boomers—will combine to double the population of Americans aged 65 years or older to about 72 million.

With the health needs of our older community members in mind, Lakeland has formed the Senior Services Consortium. This group brings together leaders from a number of different entities that serve older patients in southwest Michigan, including hospitals, nursing homes, homecare services, assisted living facilities, and retirement communities. The group’s objective is to keep seniors healthy, so that they can enjoy the best possible quality of life. Lakeland has made strides toward this goal by educating staff at participating facilities about management and prevention of congestive heart failure and other medical conditions. We believe that by sharing this knowledge, we are investing in the health of our entire community.

We also realize that as patients age, it’s more important than ever for their entire care team—primary care physicians, specialists, and other providers—to work together to provide consistent, coordinated care. The consortium has made that possible by giving providers secure access to view their patients’ electronic medical records. For patients, this means that their entire care team can collaborate more quickly and effectively, whether they are at their doctor’s office, in the emergency room, at a long-term care facility, or anywhere else.

It’s easy to look at other organizations in your industry as competitors, but the Senior Services Consortium is all about seeing them as collaborators. Today, anyone can view quality ratings for nursing homes online to see who is doing well in which areas, and who could use some improvement. In the spirit of collaboration, we want to look at these scores and find opportunities to help one another learn and improve, at our own facilities and everywhere else. It’s the right thing to do for our patients and our community. To learn more about this group, please visit www.lakelandhealth.org/seniors.

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