Posted December 22, 2021 in Articles
Author: ALEX KRUTCHIK
In the midst of the most unprecedented crisis the world had faced in decades, Menorah Park in Beachwood wanted to bring someone on staff at the executive level who could help guide the clinical care and medical priorities of the organization.
That is where Dr. Jessica Coleman came in. In October 2020, while COVID-19 was still ravaging Northeast Ohio, Coleman was hired to become the vice president of medical affairs at Menorah Park.
Coleman said one of the interesting phenomena that she has seen over the past few years, especially in skilled rehab care, is that short stay residents that come from hospitals are more medically complex than they ever have been before.
“For that reason, while our main benefit to the community is to be a home for those who can’t care for themselves, a more important role of what we do is taking folks from the hospital and helping to get them better faster so they can go back to their prior level of functioning,” Coleman said.
Secondarily, she said Menorah Park wanted medical expertise and input on the future of the kind of care that they provide, as well as setting up policies and practices to keep residents safe and able to do the things they need to do in the midst of a pandemic.
Coleman was previously with Summa Health in Akron, where she served as medical director for the new health collaborative’s post-acute network. She is board certified in both family medicine and geriatrics, in addition to being a certified medical director.
She said while there are people who do her job at a hospital level and outpatient community-based level, the interesting part about her role at Menorah Park is interacting with residents and their families for a good portion of the day, as opposed to other physicians or administrators.
Coleman also speaks with rabbis and employees in Menorah Park’s life enrichment program about what it is that the residents want to do to feel fulfilled. She said they want to understand how to do those things in a way that is safe during a pandemic.
“If we can come out of this pandemic where people feel like they got to do the things that they wanted to do, and they also avoided COVID-19 or any bad effects from COVID-19, I feel like we did a good job,” Coleman said.
The long-term goals Coleman has set for herself and Menorah Park are determining how to evolve in the changing medical climate that keeps the elder at the center and evolve as an organization in a way that “keeps sacred the wisdom in life experiences of the older person, but still are able to incorporate new medical technologies and new medical information.”
As she settles into her role, Coleman said she is most looking forward to involving Menorah Park in the greater medical and social community by bringing educational opportunities to the organization.
“I really want to make sure that when people hear ‘Menorah Park,’ they think of the newest and best clinical education and offerings for the older person,” she said.