Special Reports

Hospitals trying to stay ahead of aging population

San Luis Obispo County hospitals are staying on top of the latest trends in medicine and enhancing community programs to meet the needs of the area’s aging population, according to hospital officials.

Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo plans to expand its heart disease and cancer services (including gynecologic oncology) in the near future, and bring new physicians and technology so that “our community is able to stay home for their care,’’ said Ron Yukelson, hospital spokesman.

As well, the hospital will continue its partnerships with local nonprofits such as the YMCA and The Wellness Community to provide healthcare lectures geared toward baby boomers and active older adults, he said. In addition, the hospital offers free or low-cost healthcare screenings.

Twin Cities Community Hospital in Templeton, with its new patient tower, touts its minimally invasive joint replacement surgery and has services for those with chronic arthritis pain. There are quarterly prostate and other health-care screenings, and a podiatrist on staff, said Caroline McHale, director of media and physician relations.

At French Hospital Medical Center in San Luis Obispo, seniors are encouraged to eat well, remain physically active and educate themselves about healthier lifestyle choices, said Megan Maloney, hospital spokeswoman.

The hospital opens its auditorium to those 55 and older for free, nutritious meals, offers healthcare lectures on diabetes prevention, cancer and heart disease. In addition, it plans to put in two, free outdoor fitness zones, where community members can use exercise equipment at the hospital campus. Next year, French will bring in healthy cooking demonstrations.

French offers total hip and knee replacement surgeries, a Hearst Cancer Resource Center, and cardiac care as part of the $8 million Copeland, Forbes and Rossi Cardiac Care Center. The hospital will collaborate with Arroyo Grande Community Hospital in providing cancer resources and services through Arroyo Grande’s Coastal Cancer Care and Diagnostic Center.