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A new partnership between Trinity Community in Beavercreek, Ohio, and Kettering Health Network brought family medicine physician residents to the Trinity campus starting in July. 

Dr. Jodi Sperber, medical director and attending physician at Trinity, is overseeing second- and third-year physician residents from the Indu and Raj Soin Medical Center Family Medicine Residency Program, part of the Kettering Health Network. The partnership will fulfill an Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education requirement for physician residents to complete continuity geriatrics training.

Improving care coordination has emerged as a key strategy for enhancing the quality of life and lowering healthcare costs for older adults, experts say. This educational experience will afford opportunity to enhance coordination efforts across the care continuum.

Twelve physician residents will manage the care for Trinity Community residents with oversight and preceptorship provided by Dr. Sperber.

“It’s a big deal to get a new residency for medical education,” Dr. Sperber said. “It is a beneficial program to have, particularly in our community. We all recognize the need for more family medicine physicians to meet the needs of our aging population.”

United Church Homes is investing in the future by supporting this program. 

“It keeps us vigilant to stay up to date and relevant,” Dr. Sperber said. “Young physicians offer a surge of energy, ideas and contemporary updates and guidelines based on current literature as part of their education. We, in clinical medicine, are susceptible to maintaining status quo due to busy schedules and comfort levels. This endeavor will offer opportunities for growth for all participants involved, including the physician residents, nurses, staff members and the residents themselves. I consider it a unique opportunity to demystify the nursing home space, and I am optimistic it will serve to further support and improve the excellent care already provided to our residents across our community.”

A typical day will start in the afternoon, with physician residents visiting patients, performing exams and formulating treatment plans. Later, they will go over their findings with Dr. Sperber, followed by a didactic session, comprised of a lecture and discussion, most of which will be led by the physician residents.

Dr. Sperber said Trinity’s secure memory neighborhood is a unique experience from which physician residents will benefit. 

“It’s my favorite. It’s so gratifying,” she said. “They’re lovely people, and their special needs mandate the importance of a skillful approach. These residents provide an opportunity to perfect the optimal approach to patients with advanced dementia often compounded by multisensory impairments. It is easy to become self-absorbed with our hectic lives, but this population mandates a slower, more deliberate pace, and kindness matters. I emphasize maintaining the dignity and individuality of each resident, and it is impressive that when given the opportunity, we can connect on a personal level with these residents.”

The physician residents will use technology such as secure messaging to share information and make decisions. The secure texting app TigerText works integrally with electronic medical records (EMRs) to permit secure two-way messaging along with secure remote access to the EMR for data synthesis. In this way, management of acute issues is not restricted to the confines of physical space. 

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, EMR systems have the potential to provide substantial benefits to physicians, clinic practices and healthcare organizations. The systems facilitate workflow and improve patient care quality and safety, among other benefits. 

Dr. Sperber is board-certified in Family Medicine and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians, and is also board-certified in Hospice and Palliative Medicine. She is a certified medical director for post-acute and long-term care. 

A Greene County native, Dr. Sperber has worked in several capacities in the Miami Valley region during her professional career including serving as the regional medical director for United Church Homes for five years. Her relationship with Trinity Community is sentimental and dates back to her childhood visits with her church group, Beaver United Church of Christ.

Dr. Sperber’s passion is for geriatrics with emphasis on acute and chronic disease management permeated with palliative care approach and hospice integration when appropriate. Palliative care provides a holistic approach to complex medical, social and financial situations. “It emphasizes quality of life for patients with chronic, incurable diseases by managing symptoms aggressively while addressing patient-specific or patient-directed preferences, recognizing that though cure is not an option, optimal symptom management is. I consider caring for the vulnerable, and often forgotten, my purpose — my mission in life. I feel compelled to serve those who have lived amazing lives and to assist them and their families in finishing well,” Dr. Sperber said.

“Ultimately, the goal is to live abundantly at whatever stage or condition one finds himself or herself in. Peace of mind, comfort and dignity are aspects of care I strive to accomplish for each patient,” Dr. Sperber said. “Each patient’s life journey is unique, and I am privileged to participate as their physician. Though incorporating technology into most aspects of my practice enables improved efficiency and aspects of care unfathomable in the past, I find old-fashioned communication still works best when it comes to direct patient care.”

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