Geriatrics

Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center and Baylor College of Medicine have developed a comprehensive geriatrics center, the Baylor St. Luke’s Senior Care Clinic that focuses on caring for the whole person. Our team of specialists works together to provide a multidisciplinary approach to care

The Largest Outpatient Geriatric Clinic in the Texas Medical Center

At Baylor St. Luke’s Senior Care Clinic, the specialized team evaluates the whole person, not only focusing on the functional status of the patient but also their quality of life.
As a comprehensive geriatrics program, we are capable of providing both inpatient and outpatient management, and our ability to accommodate same-day imaging and on-site labs takes stress out of the equation. Baylor St. Luke’s Senior Care Clinic’s multidisciplinary approach to care puts social workers, nutritionists, nurses, mid-level practitioners, and physicians under one roof to fulfill every need of geriatric patients.
With a drive to provide continuous and comprehensive care, the team at Baylor St. Luke’s helps patients obtain the durable medical equipment they need to remain healthy at home. Our team provides care for both patients’ physical and mental health. On-site social workers help patients and their families identify resources in the community, cope with caregiver burden, and assist with future planning and advance directives.
Additionally, the team offers longer-than-average appointment times in order to evaluate the psychosocial and dietary needs of every patient and educate them on proper medication management.
Our services include:

Going Beyond Our Walls

Our physicians even participate in a House Calls program that brings personalized care to the homes of patients. During their visits, doctors not only assess the needs of their patient but also take time to inform and educate caregivers on important information.
Dr. Anita Major, geriatrician at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center and assistant professor of medicine-geriatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, leads the program. She says it’s very soulful to get to know patients on a more personal level.

"There is so much more that impacts someone’s health instead of just the medicines they take,” said Major. “This is a very important and easy way to take care of the whole patient and the whole family."

Anita Major, MD

Leading Geriatric Research

Our geriatric research efforts expand into multiple disciplines, including oncology, cardiology, neurology, psychiatry, and more.
In collaboration with the Huffington Center on Aging at Baylor College of Medicine, one of the most advanced centers on aging research in the nation, our team is heavily involved in the study areas of memory and mood. Protocols include frailty assessments of older lung and liver transplant patients and nutrition therapies to improve function. We also participate in experimental medication trials focused on cognition.

Custom Technology for Geriatric Patients

Baylor St. Luke’s Senior Care Clinic’s focus on patients with cognitive impairment translates to a stronger understanding of these conditions and superior care. We don’t limit ourselves nor our patients by the technology offerings of the market. Instead, our team collaborates with a Baylor College of Medicine engineer to develop wearable devices for our patients with cognitive impairment or a history or risk of falls.
Additionally, our geriatricians collaborate with creative teams from vascular surgery, orthopedics, podiatry, nursing, and engineering through the interdisciplinary Consortium on Advanced Motion Performance, or iCAMP.
Using body-worn sensors along with ancillary technologies, such as virtual reality, thermal imaging, and artificial intelligence, our team employs smart signal processing to identify physical activity patterns, spatio-temporal parameters of gait, balance, and three-dimensional joint kinematics and kinetics.
Our team has developed and validated several novel metrics to define disease state, assess motor learning, assess motor-cognitive decline, and determine biomechanical variabilities by extracting the most relevant information from human motion.

This technology offers a variety of solutions, from identifying limb-threatening gangrene to preventing life-threatening falls and fractures in older adults.

Palliative Medicine

Our geriatric staff coordinates medical, social, and hospice services for patients and families facing terminal illnesses. Pain management and control of other symptoms is a priority in ensuring optimal patient comfort. Assistance is provided in establishing advance directives, selective resuscitation status, and designating a power of attorney. Care plans are individualized to the needs of the patient and family, with a focus on maximizing quality of life and comfort. House calls are offered to select patients in the geographic area who are no longer able to seek medical care in the office or clinic setting.
Patient Story

Family Matters at Baylor St. Luke’s Senior Care Clinic

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 Carleen went 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 were 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 they’ve received at Baylor St. Luke’s Senior Care Clinic, they’ve referred many friends there, including Marlene’s 93-year-old mother.