One of the most important decisions grown children will make is helping their parents select a nursing home or assisted living facility when the time comes. At Northwest Hospital, we understand that we can’t make choices for our patients and their families but we can work to improve their options for care.

The goals of the Northwest Hospital Senior Care Program are to improve the health of nursing home residents in our community, and to help senior living facilities provide high-quality medical care. The program is lead by geriatricians Dr. Kent Sullivan and Dr. Jim Bowers, an internist with specialty training in respiratory and acute care medicine. Each physician acts as medical director, consulting physician or attending physician at many of the senior living facilities in the area.

As geriatric specialists, the Senior Care Program physicians are uniquely prepared to help nursing homes address many of the challenges they face in providing medical care for their residents. In the role of a facility’s medical director, they:

  • Offer ongoing review and revision of policies and procedures and provide clinical leadership in an effort to improve care
  • Work to ensure all medical care for residents is consistent with current quality standards and that the facility meets current regulatory requirements
  • Work closely with multidisciplinary nursing home staff to develop quality improvement protocols tailored to each facility, including weight loss counsel, use of psychotropic medication and antidepressants, fall prevention, skincare and decubitus ulcer prevention and treatment and infection control, among others.
  • Provide training sessions for nurses, nursing assistants and staff to improve their skills in caring for elderly patients.
The program’s physicians are also able to offer expert consultation to nursing home staff regarding treatment of the unique medical conditions and health issues faced by seniors. Drawing from their specialty training, the physicians can help counsel each facility on building a healthcare program tailored to meet its specific needs — from staff education and quality care improvements to best practices for pain management, mental health support and other treatments.
The Senior Care Program physicians also provide direct care to individual nursing home residents, offering patient assessments, specialty consultations and various types of ongoing treatment. Their patient-centered approach means they will work with nursing homes, patients and their families to ensure proper care, as well as coordinating referral to specialists and hospitalization if necessary. By focusing on the right treatments, the program physicians will work to improve patients’ level of functioning and quality of life.