Family Matters When It Comes to Senior Care

Waddell Heinrich is a current patient of Dr. Susan Williams, geriatrician at Baylor St. Luke’s Senior Care Clinic, but their relationship goes back even further. It began when Waddell’s parents, Lou and Carleen Heinrich, who both lived in a senior living community, visited Dr. Williams. Carleen had Alzheimer’s and lived in the memory care unit while Lou resided in the independent living area. They had learned of Dr. Williams through one of the nurse practitioners who would make rounds in the senior living community.

When Waddell and his father took Carleen to see Dr. Williams in the clinic for the first time, her disease was so far advanced that she could barely lift her head.

“When Dr. Williams sat down cross-legged on the floor so that she could look Mom in the eye, I knew we were going to be okay,” said Waddell. Dr. Williams coming down to meet the patient’s eyes and get “on her level” was very meaningful to the Heinrich family. They believed in Dr. Williams’ commitment to her patients.

“Her bedside manner is fantastic.” She always makes a point to speak to the patient instead of talking over the patient and speaking only with the family. Dr. Williams never once looked at the clock or her watch while Carleen was in the clinic, something that was very meaningful to the Heinrich family.

Every appointment with Dr. Williams lasts about one hour, and she never rushes. She always takes time to listen, assess the patient, and understand the patient’s health needs outside of the clinic. The family always enjoyed visits, as they knew Dr. Williams would offer compassionate and thorough care.

Whenever Waddell’s mother needed to be admitted to Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center, Dr. Williams herself would perform inpatient rounding. The Heinrich family shared that the hospital staff was professional, responsive, and good communicators.

Lou also became a patient, and while he didn’t have the same memory issues as his wife, Dr. Williams supported his health throughout the years, as well as his efforts as a caregiver.

As Lou aged, Dr. Williams focused on maintaining his quality of life, helping him manage his medications, and encouraging him to never push past his physical limits. Before Lou saw Dr. Williams, he sought care from many specialists who were only focused on treatment instead of attention to Lou’s aging process.

The family enjoys the same-day labs and imaging at the clinic, as well as the electronic messaging system the clinic offers patients. Through it, they feel like they have a “direct line to Dr. Williams.” Any time they have a question or concern, they send a note through the messaging system, and Dr. Williams responds quickly.

Waddell’s wife, Marlene, has even had a chance to participate in a caregiver retreat that addresses caregiver burden and self-care, which she found out about through the clinic’s social worker, for whom she is appreciative. They are so pleased with the care Waddell and his parents have received at Baylor St. Luke’s Senior Care Clinic, they’ve referred many friends there, including Marlene’s 93-year-old mother.

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