The two played board games together, went on walks, and cooked meals, forming an enduring intergenerational bond.
When Dr. Awkal was about 12, her grandmother suffered a severe stroke and was moved into a long-term care facility. Later in life, in her first year of residency in medical school, Dr. Awkal connected with many patients in an assisted living environment. It triggered fond memories of her grandmother and gave her career path a distinct direction.
“I knew for much of my life that I wanted to be a doctor,” Dr. Awkal says. “I knew I wanted to help people and prevent diseases in patients. The residency helped me know I wanted to go the senior care route.”
Today, Dr. Awkal, 37, is a physician with Post-Acute Care Clinicians, which is based in Agawam. The practice is unique given that Dr. Awkal and her colleagues do not see patients in an office. They travel to patients’ homes, visiting elders in assisted living facilities and retirement communities throughout Hampden County, primarily in Springfield, Longmeadow, and Westfield.
Last fall, Dr. Awkal and her physician assistant, Kristin Pisano, added Glenmeadow to their client list. Kristin visits our residents on Mondays; Dr. Awkal on Thursdays. Together, they are focused on preventative care and helping our residents maintain their independence through pain management, dementia care, medication management, and tending to day-to-day primary care needs.
“My philosophy is that preventive care can have a positive impact on a person’s quality of life in their later years, and that’s what I set out to provide,” Dr. Awkal says.
Of the in-home visits, she says, “You have very intimate meetings with a patient when you’re in their own home. You get to spend a lot of time with them and have a very personalized interview.
“You also get a good sense of their living situation,” Dr. Awkal adds. “I really enjoy looking at photos and seeing what means a lot to my patients. There’s a medical portion, but then there’s the in-touch, personalized approach to care with a patient that can make all the difference.”
Dr. Awkal holds a bachelor’s degree in bio-chemistry from Simmons College and a doctorate of medicine from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, from which she graduated with honors in 2009. She finished her residency at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.
In the early part of her career, Dr. Awkal worked at the Los Angeles Jewish Home, where she was a team members physician.
Dr. Awkal’s relationship with Glenmeadow began in September, when our President and Chief Executive Officer Anne Thomas reached out after learning about Post-Acute Care Clinicians from a colleague. Anne saw a wonderful opportunity for residents in Dr. Awkal’s philosophy and practice.
“There is a tremendous benefit for our patients in the home visits Dr. Awkal provides,” Anne says. “It speaks to our mission of caring for older adults in mind, body, and spirit.”
Dr. Awkal says Glenmeadow is a great fit for her practice.
“It’s really wonderful,” she says. “Everybody is always smiling. Everybody is always helping. Everybody on the team members works together as a team. My experience has been so positive. Glenmeadow provides such a collegial environment.”