There are few jobs as selfless and valuable as those in healthcare. Healthcare professionals are the individuals keeping people alive and well, making great strides in medicine, and providing support for those that need it most. Those in eldercare are responsible for serving society’s seniors with the respect and love they’ve earned in their communities.
There are many exceptional healthcare professionals working hard every day to improve the lives of our elders, and they should all be honored for their efforts and successes. At The Allure Group, Dr. Rekha Bhandari has made an extraordinary impact for residents spanning our many New York-based facilities.
A skilled physician and Internal Medicine specialist, Dr. Bhandari is Chief Medical Officer at Allure. Last year, she was awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor for her lifelong dedication to bettering the lives and health of New York’s elderly.
In a profile, Dr. Bhandari told India Abroad, “My job with Allure is focused on not just overseeing physicians. I am involved in implementation of policy/protocol on various medical managements. The ultimate goal is to avoid hospitalization, improve quality of care and ensure better patient outcome. It is also more of tweaking and improving and leaving my own mark of high quality care.”
Her passion for geriatrics is clear even beyond her work at The Allure Group. In February 2015, she spoke at the United Nations as a keynote speaker on the subject of aging and intergenerational gaps. She also serves as Chief of Geriatrics at the Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center in Brooklyn. Perhaps most dear to her, though, was her founding of HOPE in 2005, a home visit program for the elderly. When she proposed it over ten years ago it was met with enthusiasm, and has grown from 10 to 250 active patients since then.
The idea came to her based on her comparison between eldercare in India and the United States. Though the US is advanced on many levels, many seniors are uncomfortable visiting doctors’ offices and benefit a great deal from house calls, which are common in India. The program has been a great success. “Basically, we offer all services that are required to keep the patients in a comfortable environment, allowing them to age comfortably and avoid hospitalization,” she said.
That said, Dr. Bhandari hopes to someday do more for her home country, where geriatrics are not a priority. “So much can and needs to be done,” she said. “There should be cultural change starting from medical education in the field of geriatrics and palliative medicine to healthcare expenditure dedicated to mange senior lives.”
Until then, Dr. Bhandari is making great strides for New York City’s seniors. Recently, she helped develop a new protocol called “Hearts in Motion” for The Allure Group. The protocol remotely monitors congestive heart failure patients in nursing facilities, using automated alerts to notify cardiologists of significant changes in the patients’ health. It has dramatically reduced hospital readmissions, while also improving patient outcomes and keeping costs down.
It’s people like Dr. Bhandari that keep me optimistic about the future of eldercare. As populations age, we need dedicated professionals with big ideas and bigger hearts to implement changes that will ease the aging process for everyone. She remains a shining example of what talented healthcare professionals can accomplish.