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Pilot program brings health care home

If you can recall when doctors made house calls, then you probably can remember “I Like Ike” buttons, black-and-white televisions and afternoon newspapers that cost a nickel.

In other words, you’re no kid, and, if you live around Bustleton Avenue, there’s a program that’s expanding into your area that will take you back to the era when health care came to you.

The Abramson Center for Jewish Life, which operates a medical adult day center at Bustleton and Byberry, has been running a pilot program for the last year in which a nurse practitioner visits patients in their homes and reports to their physicians to determine their medical needs.

Abramson’s program served 360 seniors in Federation Housing in the last year and now is being expanded into the community — along the Bustleton Avenue corridor from Byberry Road to Frankford Avenue.

If someone is not feeling well and can’t get to a doctor, a nurse practitioner visits the patient’s home, contact’s the patient’s primary-care physician, tells the doctor what she sees right in front of her and together they decide what the patient needs, said Lana Pozdnyakov, program administrator.

The nurse will work with the patient’s physician regardless of the patient’s health network. Currently, there is just one nurse practitioner involved, but more will be added as the program expands.

A couple weeks back, Pozdnyakov said, the nurse noticed something didn’t seem right about a 98-year-old Abramson Center client.

“Something was off,” she said.

The nurse quickly conducted some tests and found the person was suffering from a urinary tract infection. This condition can cause confusion in older adults, Pozdnyakov said, so the patient’s doctor was notified, an antibiotic was prescribed and delivered by a pharmacy within two hours.

Bad things could have happened, and the patient could have ended up being admitted to a nursing home, she said. Avoiding that is a key point of the nurse practitioner program.

“The goal is to prevent unnecessary stays in hospitals and nursing homes” for senior citizens who want to stay in their homes, said Marcy Shoemaker, Abramson’s director of marketing.

Some older adults have multiple health problems that might need treatment or monitoring in their homes so they can continue living at home, she said.

This is the future of health care, she added, and incorporates some of the philosophies and practices of the past into modern treatment.

For information, call 215–371–3400 or visit www.abramsoncenter.org ••

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