Kaiser Fresno earns national recognition for geriatric care

Amanda Aguilar Image
Friday, December 10, 2021
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Kaiser Permanent Fresno wants older adults who go into surgery to feel reassured they're in good hands.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Kaiser Permanente Fresno wants older adults who go into surgery to feel reassured they're in good hands.

It's one of only two hospitals in the country recognized for its geriatric care.

"We have a process of evidence-based care to make sure that you have a surgery that will be of benefit to you, the surgery will be done safely, and your recovery and post-recovery stay will be covered adequately," explained Dr. Subhendra Banerjee.

After three years of work and data collection, Kaiser has met 30 standards set by the American College of Surgeons when it comes to caring for patients 75 and older.

Dr. Banerjee has helped lead the senior surgical care program.

He said the standards improve a patient's experience before, during and after surgery.

"What we've shown, from 2018 and now to 2021, is that we have significantly reduced our adverse outcomes in the elderly," he said.

Delirium is a major and real problem as an older patient in the hospital.

Kaiser's geriatric-friendly rooms now aim to prevent that. The rooms have windows for natural light, and a large clock, among other features.

Patients are also able to safely store their personal items and keep them in a locked case instead of leaving them with a family member.

"When they go to the recovery room, we open this," Dr. Banerjee said, showing a small case with a lock. "They get their glasses back, they put on their hearing aids, and they put their dentures on."

According to Kaiser, the national recognition shows the hospital's dedication to its older patients, which makes up about 19% of its membership.

Kaiser Permanente Northern California is currently working on implementing the program in all 21 of its medical centers.