Oak Park senior citizens can look forward to enhanced treatment and new services from West Suburban Medical Center, following a ribbon-cutting ceremony last week that marked a program improvement enterprise.
“The heart of this service, of course … is provision of high quality, safe patient care, with a very strong emphasis on customer service,” said West Suburban Chief Executive Officer Jack Cleary to a crowd of several dozen community members gathered in the new geriatric lounge, located next to the main hospital lobby.
“You see here today the physical space,” that represents the enhanced senior program, he said, referring to the new lounge. “The other visible sign are the two vehicles,” he said, pointing outdoors.
The senior transportation program provides door-to-door, call-ahead transportation service for citizens, 60 and older, between their homes and the medical center or the River Forest campus. The service was supposed to kick off with its first ride on Friday, but because of one of the worst snowstorms in memory, drivers began shuttling elderly patients in need of medical attention on Wednesday, the day the blizzard ended.
Jennifer Lofgren, director of physician services for West Suburban, said that while geriatric service has always been offered at the medical center, certain aspects of the program are new.
“Attention to the geriatric population that we serve will be better defined,” she said. That includes the transportation program and the waiting lounge, but will also include elements that become more visible over time. Lofgren said there will be more community outreach initiatives, and in-house service will be more specialized. Physicians and nurses providing elderly care will be equipped with dedicated training for geriatric-focused health conditions, she said.
Village President David Pope praised the new offerings, which he said reflect the supportive spirit of the community. “What we have here in Oak Park is a collaboration,” he said. Medical entities and local government work together to identify the needs of the population and to help solve those needs. He added that the enhancements to geriatric service will help fill a fundamental need in the community.
“I have personally always felt that community hospitals are the best places to help take care of our senior citizens,” said Dr. Mary Schraufnagel, the medical director for the geriatric program at West Suburban.
“We’re very excited at the hospital to kind of be getting back to the community,” said Dr. Micheal Deehan. “Here’s to the seniors.”