Seeking Breakthroughs

Appears in the September 2018 issue.

Photograph by Michael Hudson

For seniors facing a significant decline in their health, who have had multiple hospital stays or who have illnesses that require a different level of care, Dr. Brian O’Leary and his team at DuPage Medical Group’s BreakThrough Care Center (BCC) offer an integrated care program designed to minimize hassles and maximize results.

What health and wellness issues are seniors facing?
Common disease states are cardiovascular (atrial fibrillation, hypertension, and congestive heart failure), cancer, diabetes, emphysema, and mental health. Depression and anxiety are increasingly common as people live longer and lose some of their previous support systems, like friends and spouses.

What can seniors do to stay healthy?
Wellness for the elderly is an exciting topic, including attention to aerobic fitness, muscle mass preservation, and flexibility training. Preserving balance and endurance can raise an older adult’s level of independence tremendously, and reduce their risk for falls and other injuries—accidents that often begin a downward spiral of injury, disability and dependence.

How does the BreakThrough Care Center help?
We differ from other facilities on two levels: First, team members work together closely, a task that is made easier by the fact that we all work in the same space—there’s an ongoing, free-flowing conversation that allows us to develop highly personalized care plans for our patients. Second, the BCC is integrated into DuPage Medical Group, so as the primary physician I have immediate access to the chart notes, test results, and radiology findings generated from 500-plus partners. This care coordination (direct communication between specialty care providers) and transition of care (patients moving from one site of service, such as the hospital, back to their home setting) essentially creates a team of hundreds of providers—from the physician to the nurse to the allied team members—with the BCC functioning as the overall coordinating hub.