MEETING INSPĪR’S INTEGRATED CARE TEAM: DR. CLAIRE DAVENPORT, GERIATRICIAN, PART 1
Inspīr’s Integrated Care Model (ICM) is an interdisciplinary, team-based, person-centered approach to whole-person health and wellness. This approach provides highly coordinated, data-driven, and outcome-focused care across providers, settings, and time. Built on a philosophy of vibrant, intentional living and meaningful connections, the ICM synthesizes the expertise of medical professionals across multiple disciplines for the best possible outcomes for our residents.
Dr. Claire Davenport, M.D., M.S., is a geriatrician, bioethicist, and recent addition to Inspīr’s Integrated Care Team. In bringing her on as the house geriatrician, Inspīr achieves a level of care unparalleled by other senior residences. In her role, she provides on-site primary care to enrolled residents, along with geriatric consultations. To provide a greater understanding of the benefits of having an on-site geriatrician within our Integrated Care Model, we invited her to share her background and contributions to Inspīr.
What drew you to the field of geriatrics?
My first year of medical school is when I remember first hearing the father of modern medicine William Osler’s quote: “Care more particularly for the individual patient than for the especial features of the disease.” Today, I continue to aspire to that beautiful teaching and believe there is no field of medicine that more captures its essence than geriatrics.
Having spent much of my academic life as a scientist, I was surprised when I was drawn deeply into the art of medicine during medical school. I enjoyed fields of the humanities and bioethics. When I was completing my bioethics masters during internal medicine residency, my mentor helped me focus on Alzheimer’s care. It was during this deep exploration, that the study of aging captured my imagination and passion as a physician.
During my final few months of residency, I met Dr. Michael Wolff, the treasured geriatrics fellowship director at Albany Medical College. He is known for his excellent bedside manner, scientific mind, and constant drive to learn more and evolve as a human being and as a physician. I knew I had found my niche, my colleagues, and the focus for my career.
What makes a geriatrician different than an internal medicine doctor or primary care physician?
Today, physicians who have completed internal medicine or family medicine residencies, as well as a growing number of other specialties, are seeking additional training in geriatrics medicine through fellowships. Geriatrics fellowships teach the science of aging, diagnosis and treatment of unique conditions we see in older adults, interdisciplinary teamwork, deep exposure to models of care such as rehabilitation and nursing home care, quality transitions of care between settings, as well as a deep dive into palliative medicine. One of the key aspects of geriatrics training are communication skills and the resulting targeted medical decision-making that are required to meet patients where they are during a very transformational time of their lives. Geriatricians are specially trained in a holistic approach that places emphasis on quality of life and incorporates family and caregiver perspectives. They are experts in discovering what matters most to older adults and developing healthcare plans with an interdisciplinary team to fit the uniqueness of the aging individual.
What is Inspīr doing that is different from other senior living providers?
A deep difference between Inspīr and other senior living providers is the level of integration with a major health system. Too often, senior living providers act as islands of care with varying levels of medical oversight. When their residents travel to medical appointments or are hospitalized, there is very little flow of information across centers. This division can lead to misunderstandings about critical medications and follow-ups.
Inspīr not only sought to improve the overall interconnectedness, they went one step further. With their relationship to Mount Sinai, they are ensuring that clients are supported at home to maintain their health and wellness in order to avoid unnecessary hospitalization, to stabilize transitions of care, and to support healing when major health events happen. As far as I know, to have the freedom of living at a senior living community while having direct access to an entire healthcare system is unheard of. This level of integration is indispensable to securing a new era of what is possible in assisted living facilities.
How and why did you decide to get involved with Inspīr?
I met Inspīr’s Chief Clinical Officer Brian Geyser through a close mentor in geriatrics. I knew as soon as we started talking that the Inspīr vision of care was not only possible, but that it was critical to responding to the needs of the older adults who were seeking the senior living experience. I decided to get involved because I have seen how geriatrics models of care can positively impact the health and wellness of older adults, and that this model was unique. I knew I was investing this part of my career in the assisted living field of geriatrics medicine—an area that is growing and evolving quickly. Working closely with the Inspīr team, I myself am growing and learning. It’s exciting to be on the cutting edge in a new model working with an amazing team that is incredibly dedicated and passionate about creating a new approach to assisted living.
Will Inspīr residents be able to have you as their primary care doctor? What would be the advantage to that vs. staying with their existing provider?
Inspīr residents can elect to have me become their primary care doctor if they would like. The advantage is that I will be seeing my patients on site at Inspīr. They will have access to the Mount Sinai geriatrics models of care as described earlier, and I work directly with the team at Inspīr in weekly meetings. Our close working relationship helps with the coordination of care, improved clarity over medical conditions and orders, and safer transitions in care across settings, such as hospitalization and rehabilitation. If a resident prefers to stay with their primary care physician, I will be available for urgent needs, or to see them as a specialist and work with the PCP.
From your perspective as a geriatrician, why should someone consider moving to Inspīr vs. staying where they are and hiring private caregivers?
In one word, access. Right now, especially with the pandemic, older adults are living in isolation. Technology is out there to support interconnectedness, but this is not designed to be accessible for many older adults who can have changes in dexterity, hearing, vision, and cognition. Having safe access to social connections, family, friendship, or spirituality is crucial. Through our personalized approach, each resident will be supported in their connections using technology and best practices. Older adults need access to connect right now, and Inspīr facilitates this.
Another aspect to access includes those personal growth and development aspects such as theatre, movement, art, and classes. Part of sustaining health includes growth, especially if there are increasing and changing health needs. Inspīr offers access to really fantastic programming that expands the opportunities to continue to grow and experience the abundance of life.
Importantly, as time passes, things can change. These changes can occur slowly or more rapidly, and having a system of care that can match the level of need is really critical to avoid dangerous mismatches that can result while people may be transitioning to new levels of function and cognition.
What are you most looking forward to about your role at Inspīr?
The residents! I am most looking forward to meeting the residents and their families. Hearing their stories and what is going on for them right now. I am looking forward to being of service to them and the wonderful healthcare team at Inspīr.
I feel so much gratitude to be part of this movement in assisted living. I know that what we have created here sets a higher bar for other sites of assisted living care. It is such a gift for me to design healthcare to expand upon the many geriatrics models of care that Mount Sinai offers.
Inspīr’s Integrated Care Model centers around total well-being and optimal outcomes for each resident, and supports our philosophy of vibrant, intentional living. We hope this blog has offered some insight into how we bring our elevated senior care experiences to life. Contact us to learn more about the important role Dr. Claire Davenport will play at Inspīr.