Sickle cell disease causes healthy red blood cells to become hard and sticky and look like a C-shaped farm tool called a "sickle." These cells can get stuck in blood vessels and block them, preventing oxygen from getting through and resulting in pain and other serious complications. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the disease is an inherited disorder that occurs in about 1 out of every 365 Black or African American births and 1 in every 16,300 Hispanic American births.
Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles has been at the forefront of providing culturally competent patient care for its diverse member population. Exemplifying this is their award-winning Sickle Cell Center of Excellence at the Inglewood Medical Offices, which aims to provide personalized treatment to patients with sickle cell disease, foster self-care, and standardize the level of care.
"Serving the community in the way that we do is indicative of how much we care about our patients and how we want to see them thrive," said Dr. Resa Caivano, family medicine physician and sickle cell expert with Kaiser Permanente West LA. "One of the program's major focuses is ensuring all ourpatients enjoy a good quality of life. We want to ensure the disease is controlled, and our patients can be productive in their day-to-day."
The Center of Excellence is one of the select few centers in Southern California that offers personalized care for adult and pediatric patients with sickle cell disease. The West LA team partners with the pediatrics team at the Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center to provide seamless treatment throughout their patients' care journeys.
"We collaborate with pediatrics to understand the subtle nuances of our patients' childhood care. We host monthly meetings where everyone comes together until all the providers have the same information. This collaborationincreases the continuity of care for our patients," said Dr. Caivano.
Additionally, the multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, physician assistants, and social services takes an all-inclusive approach to find solutions for issues many patients experience due to the disease.
"I would encourage everyone to learn more about this disorder, help increase awareness, and give blood. We can all make a difference," Dr. Caivano added.
Learn more about sickle cell disease and the Kaiser Permanente West LA Sickle Cell Center of Excellence here.