The neighborhoods served by Coney Island Hospital have one of the highest proportions of older people in New York City.
Seniors are especially vulnerable to fractures (broken bones) because of age related osteoporosis, says Dr. Jeffrey Passick, who heads Coney Island Hospital’s Division of Orthopedic Surgery. The Orthopedics department provides an out-patient office practice and both in-patient and out-patient surgical services under the same roof.
In response, Coney Island Hospital is helping to lead the way in treating musculoskeletal injuries. But just as important, Dr. Passick said, the hospital wants to prevent these injuries from happening in the first place.
“No one wants to break their hip or break their wrist,” Dr. Passick said. He noted that such breaks are two of the most common bone injuries among older people. A broken hip is particularly devastating as it usually requires surgery and often leads to a significant change in mobility.
“It’s really something that we try to prevent,” Dr. Passick stated. The hospital’s physical therapy program, for example, offers outdoor safety and fall prevention training programs.
Tips for Seniors
Most injuries happen at home, Dr. Passick observed. Seniors can accident-proof their homes, and help to protect themselves and their independence, he stressed.
One very important step is to make sure that there is a clear path to the bathroom from your bed at night, free of obstructions like electric cords. Another simple strategy that Dr. Passick recommended —use a nightlight.
Seniors need to remain physically active, Dr. Passick added. Joining an exercise program, such as a Tai Chi group, is a great way to maintain muscle tone, which will help protect you in the event of a fall, and is also helpful mentally.
And seniors need to be especially mindful not to become dehydrated during the hot summer months, which can also lead to falls. “I can’t overemphasize this,” Dr. Passick told us.
Making Things Easier for Patients
Coney Island Hospital’s orthopedic team serves patients of all ages with the complete spectrum of injuries and conditions affecting the muscular-skeletal system – our bones, muscles and joints.
Services include everything from total joint reconstruction and arthroscopic procedures, to treatment for sports and soft tissue injuries and pediatric disorders.
Departments within the hospital work together to improve patient outcomes after surgery, Passick said. This includes providing in-patient rehabilitation, and “innovative and aggressive” pain management.
In addition to surgery, the hospital’s outpatient clinic offers on-site radiology (MRIs and CT scans), on-site physical and occupational therapy, post surgery rehab, home care, outpatient rehab, nurse screening and immediate access to urgent care when needed.
“The fact that everything is available and together under one roof makes the coordination of care — and the communication – easy,” Dr. Passick said. “It makes things a lot easier for the patient and the care is more efficient.”
The scale of the practice is unique for this part of Brooklyn, Dr. Passick said, and is on par with academic hospital centers in Manhattan. Dr. Passick and his team perform close to 600 surgeries a year, and the outpatient clinic sees about 500 patients a month.
Passick, who has been in practice for almost 25 years, says he finds working with the Coney Island Hospital community, with its diversity of cultures and religions, “very fulfilling.” The clinic’s team has Spanish, Russian and Chinese speakers on staff, and can serve patients speaking 133 languages via its telephonic translation system. “There’s no one whom we can’t talk to.”
To make an appointment with NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island Hospital Division of Orthopedic Surgery or Outpatient Clinic, call 1-844-UR-CONEY.
This article is part of a series about resources available to residents at NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island.