Dr DePradine helps seniors get back on their feet

Christmas could be a period of isolation for some people, including senior citizens, who may be homebound or nursing an illness.

West Park Healthcare Centre, which has piloted a new Geriatric Rapid Rehab initiative, provides the elderly not just with physical help but also connects them with seniors’ programs.

Dr Jamal DePradine

“My philosophy is everyone needs someone and, particularly for older people, who maybe are living at home and don’t have as much family support or don’t have as much community support’’, said Dr Jamal DePradine, West Park’s Geriatrician and Rapid Rehab program lead.

West Park Healthcare Centre, located at 82 Buttonwood Avenue in the Jane Street and Weston Road area of Toronto, was established 118 years ago and is committed to a mission of providing “exemplary care inspired by innovation and exceptional performance’’.

According to West Park officials, the Centre assists patients to “get their lives back by providing specialized rehabilitative and complex care after a life‐altering illness or injury, such as lung disease, amputation, stroke, and traumatic musculoskeletal injuries’’.

Dr DePradine caring for a patient

West Park, which has more than 1000 employees, has academic affiliation with the University of Toronto, Humber College, George Brown College, Centennial College, Seneca College and the Michener Institute of Education at the University Health Network.

The Geriatric Rapid Rehab program, led by DePradine, is being run in collaboration with the emergency department at St Joseph’s Health Centre.

It’s described as a “high-intensity program’’ that’s offered for up to 14 days. The program, focused on helping seniors get back on their feet, has attracted patients living not just in the City of Toronto, but also from outside of the GTA.

“We work to flag older people who are in the emergency department and to expedite their transfer to our geriatric medicine unit here at West Park, so that they can have a full and comprehensive review with myself and the rest of the team,’’ said DePradine, a University of Toronto medical graduate, who completed both his Internal Medicine and Geriatric Medicine Residencies at the University of Ottawa.

“It’s really to provide them with a comprehensive tune up so that they are able to successfully transition back home,’’ explained DePradine, who also has a sub-specialty interest in geriatric cognitive disorders, particularly in the context of concomitant frailty and medical co-morbidity.

DePradine and his team are confident that delivered successfully, the Geriatric Rapid Rehab program would have a tremendous impact on patient care and the health system, including “maintaining functionality for seniors, so they can remain living independently and avoiding admission and repeat visits’’ to hospitals’ emergency departments.

West Park Healthcare Centre will expand its geriatric services with the opening of a new hospital, with more beds, next year.