New Medical Director Oversees Long-term Care

Lake Arrowhead, February 8, 2024 –

As a boy, Greg Dahlquist had not yet set his sights on being a doctor. But when his father, who was a captain with American Airlines, told his physician during his annual flight physical that that was what his son was interested in, the physician invited young Dahlquist to shadow him. On that day, the physician took Dahlquist into the OR, where he saw the doctor administer anesthesia. He then visited the home of a patient who had just given birth. “At the end of the day,” Dahlquist said, “I knew that’s what I wanted to do.”

He grew up in Illinois but moved with his family to Santa Rosa, Calif., during his junior year of high school. He went on to get his undergraduate degree from UC San Diego and then his doctorate in medicine from UCLA. He completed his residency at the Ventura County Medical Center in family medicine, his main certification.

A few years later, he also became certified in geriatric medicine and then hospice and palliative care. This past September, Dr. Dahlquist accepted the position of medical director of the Skilled Nursing Facility at Mountains Community Hospital. It was serendipity that led him to this position. He had moved to Lake Arrowhead full time 15 years ago. His neighbor? Mark Turner, CEO of the hospital.

It was only natural that, when the position became available, Turner would mention it to his neighbor. Prior to working at MCH, Dr. Dahlquist was the medical director for VNA SoCal, overseeing their hospice care for patients.

He now oversees the care of the 20 residents of the Skilled Nursing Facility. “It is delightful not to have to commute down to San Bernardino anymore,” he said. He had visited the mountain on vacation and knew it was where he wanted to make his home. “It’s beautiful, with lots of outdoor activities,” he said.

Dr. Dahlquist enjoys taking walks with his golden retriever, 7-year-old Lucy. He also enjoys traveling, having been to Europe a number of times, Japan, China, New Zealand, Africa and South America. The pandemic slowed his travel down but he is looking forward to venturing out again.

The beds in the Skilled Nursing Facility are currently all full and there is a waiting list. The staff interviews prospective new patients. “We get to know their personalities in advance of placing them,” Dr. Dahlquist said.

They hold team meetings every two weeks with the whole team of professionals – Dr. Dahlquist, the other physicians, nurses, the dietitian, physical therapist, occupational therapist, the social works.

“We discuss any concerns we have and the progress four to five residents have made at each meeting,” he said. That way, they can talk about each patient in depth. At the next meeting, they turn their attention to another four or five residents. While Dr. Dahlquist’s duties are primarily administrative as the medical director, he is available to care for any residents who request him. He has high praise for the Skilled Nursing Facility staff: “They are great,” he said.

Cynthia Bush, the SNF manager, had said in a previous interview with the Alpine Mountaineer that the nurses who care for the residents know them so well, they can anticipate their needs. “They know how they take their coffee in the morning.” Each resident has his or her own dietary plan. Nutritional Services Manager Delacey Foster works with each resident to determine both what is best for them health wise and what their likes and dislikes are. Of their menus, Foster said, “I want it fluid – based on their feedback. Whatever they want, we can adapt to it.”  It pleases Dr. Dahlquist to see how active the residents are. “There are lots of social events they participate in,” he said, “on a daily basis.”

The Skilled Nursing Facility, he said, is a great resource for the community. He agreed it is beneficial to both the residents and their mountain families that they can be cared for so close to home. He smiled as he recalled how some residents were able to join their families at their homes for Christmas.