The Health Care Center on Golden Rain Road
By Lalaena Gonzalez-Figueroa
Prakash Narain, M.D., FACP, has practiced at The Health Care Center for over 20 years. He is well versed in the needs of his unique patient population. "Our patients are active, and they treasure their independence," he observes. "That becomes an important philosophy to the physicians at the center, and it drives the way that we approach our level of care." In addition to their medical board certifications, all of the doctors at The Health Care Center have extensive experience and/or certification in geriatric medicine, reflecting their commitment to serving the special needs of their patients. "We care for our patients for life," explains Dr. Narain, who notes that the physicians at the center will follow their patients to hospice or other care facilities when necessary, and make home visits for individuals dealing with terminal illnesses. Fortunately, though, "Our patients are happily remaining at home well into advanced ages," he states.
Nancy Ann Smith, M.D., J.D., has been affiliated with The Health Care Center since 2001. She cites the group's low turnover as a benefit to patients as well as physicians. "Many of the individuals we treat have complex health issues," she offers. "At The Health Care Center, physicians and staff work together and get to know our own patients as well as those of our colleagues. This improves the overall care for everyone, and allows us to feel comfortable knowing that our patients are always receiving the attentive services they want and need."
Terri Furlow, the center's Administrator, agrees. "Our reception personnel have gotten to know our patients, and typically greet people by name when they walk to the front desk. Our nurses know them, as well. Personal relationships like this inspire a sense of confidence, and make our center that much more special. Our doctors and staff are here because they really enjoy working with our patient population; we are all inspired by their stories and accomplishments!"
The primary care physicians at The Health Care Center utilize the facilities of Los Alamitos Medical Center, a community hospital recognized by The American Heart Association and American Stroke Association for its first-rate level of care. "We're really happy with the hospital," says Mary B. Sherman, M.D. "The physicians and nurses are very friendly and attentive. It makes for an easier transition when we must send our patients for further care." The Health Care Center provides hourly transportation to and from the hospital and diagnostic center, free of charge, to all Leisure World residents.
BEYOND DOCTOR VISITS
While not every resident of Leisure World has selected a primary care physician from the stellar group operating within the center, there is still a myriad of wellness and medical assistance programs available to them. Each week, one of the center's physicians offers an hour-long seminar covering a wealth of topics, including diet and vitamins, understanding medications, dealing with arthritis and coping with stress. Special classes and support groups are also available, as well. Marie Puffpaff, a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner, is a regular speaker for the center's wellness program who also facilitates the center's diabetes support group. "Our lectures and support groups are great opportunities for Leisure World residents to educate them selves on important issues and health topics, and provide a comfortable place for residents to meet with others who understand their situations and concerns," she says. Individuals who can't make it to the seminars may find copies of certain lectures on DVD in the community library, or find them on local cable television. The Golden Rain News,Leisure World's weekly publication, frequently features informative health related articles written by The Health Care Center's physicians.
Annual events sponsored by the Health Care Center include a community-wide health fair that provides all Leisure World residents with screenings for cholesterol and foot issues, as well aslectures and consultations with specialists in pain management, arthritis and other pertinent medical fields. Conveniently held within the expansive ranch-style facility, the health fair invites all residents to explore the services and resources available to them through The Health Care Center on Golden Rain Road. Another annual event, the center's yearly flu clinic, is an epic undertaking by the center's doctors, nurses and a dedicated group of community volunteers. In 2007, the center administered an impressive 3,000 flu shots in just three days, with sponsorship from the Golden Age Foundation, which provides volunteers for the clinic and covers costs for individuals whose insurance providers wouldn't foot the bill.
ADVOCATING INDEPENDENCE AND DIGNITY