People move into senior living communities for different reasons. They may be looking to live a more low-maintenance lifestyle, hoping to stay active as they age, or become a part of a community. But, almost all, no matter which stage of life they are in, are looking for the assurance that they will be taken care of as they age. This care and peace of mind are benefits that many senior living communities advertise. So, you may be surprised to learn that it is very rare for communities to actually have an onsite practice where residents can easily access physicians and advanced care staff. Holland Home is one of those exceptions.
We sat down with Holland Home Medical Director, Dr. Duemler, to talk more about this important distinction and the benefits that it brings to residents here at Holland Home.
Holland Home’s Unique Onsite Medical Makeup
Care at Holland Home’s onsite practice is provided by Trinity Health Grand Rapids Geriatrics, which boasts ten physicians and eleven advanced practice nursing staff who work across both campuses. Their skill sets match the unique needs of our community—geriatrics, palliative, and hospice—so residents can receive care throughout their aging journey. This puts Holland Home in a distinctive position as, according to Dr. Duemler, “Trinity Health Grand Rapids probably has more geriatricians (5) in our practice than any other single practice in West Michigan.”
 

The level of continuity we are able to provide is really stunning...and I think it is very atypical.

 
Dr. Ronald Duemler, MD
Trinity Health Geriatric Medicine Specialist  Holland Home Medical Director
   
The care that the practice provides is offered at the highest level of quality, with many of the physicians receiving outside recognition for their work. Dr. Duemler was named Clinician of the Year in 2015 by the American Geriatrics Society, and two r other physicians, Dr. John Mulder and Dr. Robert Riekse, were recognized as “Top Doctors” in 2019 by the Grand Rapids Business Journal.
While Holland Home’s Trinity Health practice has a hefty lineup of physicians, they see significantly fewer patients. Compared to some family doctor's offices caring for 3,000 patients in a coverage group, they only see a fraction of that. “We don’t have a giant office infrastructure, so there isn’t a need to squeeze 15-20 patients into a single day. We can take more time with each patient,” adds Dr. Duemler.
When help is needed, residents only have to call the office. While it isn’t a conventional doctor's office with 8 hours of appointments every day, there are staffing hours during the day and an after-hours triage process.
Added Benefits of Onsite Care
  • Easy Accessibility: Getting to and from the doctor's office can be a major barrier for older adults in need of care. Especially If someone is struggling with mobility, having a doctor come directly to them can be a huge relief and lessen the risk of falls.
  • Continuum for Aging in Place: More and more people are hoping to age in place, and the tremendous continuum (Independent Living, Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing, and Dementia Care) that we have on campus allows people to do that. You may have to move to a different level of care, but your doctor can stay with you through every stage and you will still be in the same community with the friends and surroundings you have gotten to know. 
  • Staying with Your Spouse: It is not unusual for one spouse to age at a different rate than the other. It is a huge benefit to have onsite care if one is decreasing cognitively, gets injured, or has to have surgery. They are able to receive the care they need, while the spouse not receiving care can be close by and continue living an active lifestyle.
Committed to Care
While having geriatricians serve as physicians for a senior living facility may seem obvious today, you may be surprised that geriatrics is actually a relatively new field of medicine. In fact, Dr. Duemler was the first fellow ever to graduate from MSU's geriatric fellowship about 30 years ago. Knowing the aging population was growing and changing, we also knew it was important to have our next medical director be a geriatrician. So, while Dr. Duemler was working at St. Mary's, we approached him to fill that role. The extensive team Holland Home has gathered through our partnership with Trinity Health Grand Rapids is a true testament to our commitment to providing the highest quality of care for residents, helping fulfill our mission and promise each day. To learn more about the services we offer, click here.