Thursday, February 21, 2013
Trident Senior Health Devotes Extra Attention to Aging Issues Trident Senior Health understands that those age 55 and up deserve a different approach to health care, one that is tailored to the many changes they face as they grow older. As a result, its physician, Dr. Mark Meiler, is board-certified in geriatrics as well as family medicine. “He has specific training on the process of aging, and he is capable of addressing all the complex needs that older patients have,” says Trident Senior Health Director Courtney Coker, RN. Trident Senior Health’s registered nurses also have received specialized training in care and screenings for senior citizens. At the same time, a community resources coordinator helps patients and their families address broader living issues, including challenges faced by those with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. “The staff members here pride themselves on the care they provide and all strive to help our patients to maintain high levels of functioning and quality of life,” Coker says. To help make medical care easier and simpler for patients, Trident Senior Health offers several in-office services. These include joint and tendon injections as well as electrocardiogram (EKG) testing for irregularities in the heart’s electrical system. Blood may also be drawn at the office for lab testing so patients do not have to go to another location. As part of Trident Senior Health’s holistic approach, patients receive the attention they need without being rushed. “Dr. Meiler takes time to listen to the patients,” and he often meets with caregivers and family members as well. The average check-up lasts around 30 minutes, rather than 15, and may last up to an hour or longer if needed. Even though a patient may see other sub-specialists, Dr. Meiler coordinates overall care, for example reviewing all medications to guard against negative drug interactions with assistance from the nursing staff. At each visit, a patient’s weight is taken to check for a sudden drop that could be a sign of larger problems. Height is measured in case of dramatic changes, for example, due to osteoporosis, and oxygen in the blood is measured to check for cardiovascular issues. “We’re more comprehensive because we have a group of patients that has so many more problems than younger people,” says Dr. Meiler. Dr. Meiler serves a wide range of ages and needs within the 55-and-older bracket, and with his positive approach has developed a popular following. In fact, former patients from his previous practice in Aiken have traveled to North Charleston see him at Trident Senior Health, on the Trident Medical Center campus, since he moved here six years ago. With the support of Trident Health, Dr. Meiler says, Trident Family Health can offer a level of care for senior citizens that might not be possible for someone in private practice. Beyond medical care, Trident Senior Health offers a variety of valuable services to its patients and others in the area. Community Resources Coordinator Lori Mennetti, RN, partners with a local hospice in providing a weekly grief support group. (Anyone interested in learning more can contact her directly by calling 843-847-4475.) In addition, she is helping put on a five-part seminar on Alzheimer’s, dementia and memory loss that will meet Thursdays, Feb. 14 to March 15, from 2:30-4 p.m. The seminar is designed to educate caregivers and will be held at St. John the Beloved Catholic Church, 28 Sumter Ave., Summerville. To register, call 843-797-FIND (3463). “We’re more comprehensive because we have a group of patients that has so many more problems than younger people.” - Mark Meiler, MD
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