Dr. Elliott Kroger, medical director and onsite physician at Sedgebrook, a retirement community in Lincolnshire, IL, used to receive recruitment letters on a daily basis, inviting him to new positions within his field. "I don't know what made me open one from [former Sedgebrook owner/manager] Erickson," said Dr. Kroger, "but I called them on a whim, and I'm really glad I did." Formerly on staff and "wearing many hats" with Rush University Medical Center and West Suburban Hospital, Dr. Kroger was offered the position of medical director at Sedgebrook when it opened in 2005. His decision was sealed when he saw the community's model of care. "I'm allowed to see residents for the time required to really foster wellness. I can take my time with them, and there isn't the pressure to do a gazillion things in one day. It's not uncommon for me to spend 40 minutes with someone," said Dr. Kroger, who is primary care physician to the vast majority of Sedgebrook residents. Dr. Kroger also cares for the residents of Radford Green of Sedgebrook, which provides assisted living, memory support and skilled nursing.
Dr. Kroger emphasizes that it is very rare for a retirement community to have onsite physicians, much less an entire medical center, as Sedgebrook has. "Our practice is exclusive to Sedgebrook; this is not some corner office. We're fully staffed and supported by a whole team of professionals. We have a very rich medical environment, one that is not commonly replicated." That team includes another onsite physician, social workers, nurses, diet and fitness specialists, physical, occupational and speech therapists, psychologists, and Sedgebrook executives, all of whom meet on a weekly basis to discuss the care of residents. "We have multiple resources, all right here," says Kroger.
"We're all involved, we're not scrambling around; it's a multi-disciplinary model of care." Added to that is what the doctor calls a "high touch practice," unique to Sedgebrook because residents live where they get their medical care. "I see them outside of my office, we eat in the same café, I feel like I really know them."
Indeed, knowing his patients is critical to Dr. Kroger. A gourmet cook, he has even hosted some residents in his home, as a meal made and served by the doctor has been a popular prize at past Sedgebrook fundraisers. "I love to cook," said Dr. Kroger, whose specialty is osso buco. "I almost went to culinary school instead of medical school." As for his ultimate profession, says Kroger, geriatric care is the most challenging of his 32-year career. "You have to be aware of where seniors are on their life journey," he said. "Decisions are weighed more heavily, treatments can be riskier, and there are often multiple co-morbidities (one or more additional disorders) to consider." Dr. Kroger also bears in mind that entire families are involved in the medical decisions surrounding their loved ones. "But that's the beauty of Sedgebrook," he said. "Here, we have a wonderful handle on our residents' care. We know them well, and many of us play a role. It makes my job easier and so much more rewarding."
Sedgebrook is a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) offering a diverse lifestyle, maintenance-free living and outstanding amenities. Five-star rated Radford Green Health Care and Rehabilitation is located on the 92-acre Sedgebrook campus in Lincolnshire, Illinois. Sedgebrook is owned by Senior Care Development LLC and managed by Life Care Services LLC. For additional information visit www.welcometosedgebrook.com or call 847-901-3319.