Voices of Wellness and Care Coordination
In their Words: Program ParticipantsRosalia B.
Rosalia helps manage her heart failure, coronary artery disease, hypertension and arthritis by working with her LifeMasters Supported SelfCare nurse routinely. At the start, Rosalia's cholesterol numbers were topping out at more than 300 (200 or below is considered desirable), but since she started working with Sam, a community service registered nurse, she's lost 12 pounds, her blood pressure has gone down and her cholesterol levels have plummeted. She has had no hospitalizations in the past two years. In her words: "I have managed my health from home and I no longer feel depressed. Sam has been my teacher and I have been her student."
After years of ignoring her health and forgoing annual contact with health professionals offered through her health insurance, Rochelle finally decided to speak about her diabetes at length with Barb, a registered nurse provided through APS Healthcare. Through concentrated work with Barb, Rochelle has lost 31 pounds, needs only one diabetic medication, has great cholesterol numbers and has significantly reduced her reliance on medication to manage blood pressure.
Mark closely manages his diabetes with the RN Care Manager provided to him through U.S. Preventive Medicine's "Experience Health 365" program. His appreciation shows: "Barb has been wonderful," he says. "She shows a genuine concern for my condition and always seems like she has all of my information right in front of her when she calls [for follow-up]." As a result of his participation in the program, Bill has come to understand that, "It's up to me to take care of me!"
With multiple chronic conditions, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and diabetes, Royce was extremely thankful for the availability of home care coordination programs, such as Experience Health ND. Before he participated in the program, his diet was inappropriate and his blood sugar levels hovered in the 400s - three to four times higher than normal. With the help of his designated nurse, Royce now eats healthfully, participates in occupational therapy twice a week at home and has blood sugar levels that rarely exceed 150.
Scott participates in the SmartBeat program sponsored by Partners Home Care, which helps him monitor his blood pressure and diet. "Tracking my results on the Web site is very helpful and convenient," Scott says. "The ability to track readings and the feedback you receive with the Web site are really the keys to success for me. I know that when I eat certain foods, my blood pressure will rise. I'm able to control my blood pressure now through diet."
Elk Grove, CA
After gastric bypass surgery, Mehnaz began participating in a number of different programs sponsored by her insurer, including an Alere program, HealthConnections. Through much hard work with her adviser, she has lost 65 pounds since her surgery. In addition, her experience has made her a believer in chronic care coordination programs: "I can't begin to tell you how happy I am with the program!," she says.
Hot Springs, AR
Jamesetta has lived with Lupus for more than 15 years. From the very beginning, she made it a priority to learn about Lupus and how best to manage it. Since joining a local area support and education group, Jamesetta has found the strength to move forward and outlive the initial prognosis she received. She swears by education and has turned this passion into a fruitful, positive experience through her many years of volunteer work with the Arkansas Chapter of the Lupus Foundation of America. She currently serves as that organization's president and chief executive.
Prescott City, AZ
Kitty suffers from heart failure, asthma, allergies, obesity and COPD that requires continuous oxygen. Since starting work with Alere's Heart Failure program, a program that helps patients manage weight, quality of life and general patient well-being on a regular basis so major medical problems can be diagnosed quickly, Kitty has lost 13 pounds and has been free of any respiratory infections. In her words, Kitty "likes having someone check on her" and "answer her health care question and concerns."
Ralph is an 87-year-old great grandfather and World War II veteran who has suffered three heart attacks and is now enrolled in the Health Dialog-sponsored Connected Cardiac Care program. Every day, Ralph transmits his vital signs to his tele-monitoring nurse, Sue, who calls him if there is the slightest indication of a problem. "When I have good readings and my vital signs are good, it makes me feel even better," he says. "It relieves my mind to know that I'm doing well. With the push of a button, Sue knows if I might be having a problem and calls me right away."
John swears by his participation in the Healthways-provided Silver Sneakers program: "Just when I was at great risk of becoming disabled and inactive due to severe lower back pain, the Silver Sneakers program threw me a lifeline." Through a combination of stretching, aerobic dance and other cardio wellness exercise programs provided through the program, John is nearly 100 percent recovered. "I am indebted to the Silver Sneakers program and my instructor for this reversal of physical fortune."
After being admitted to her area cardiac care clinic for a heart condition for more than a month, Della enrolled in the clinic's heart failure program for follow-up care. "The nurses in the program called nearly every day to provide advice, encouragement and information about medications," she says. She found the experience extremely valuable and was motivated to get better on a daily basis by the thorough and courteous feedback she received from the nurses in the wellness program.
After the birth of her second child, Mindy lost the motivation to reduce her weight. As a result, she realized that her health depended on learning to manage her weight—sooner, rather than later. Through a weight management program offered through her employer-sponsored insurance, Mindy has not only reaped the benefits of weight loss, but has learned something even more valuable: "Success depends on how you define it," she says. "This program has been highly successful in getting me to change my habits that, over time, will lead to healthy weight loss."
Mel suffers from a heart condition and has been in and out of hospitals for congestive heart failure and palpitations. Since 2007, he's worked with doctors and health care managers at his area cardiac clinic, checking in every three months to have his implantable cardioverter defibrillator checked and to have his heart condition monitored. He is thankful to have this health care management program available to him and feels more confident that he's managing his health better than ever before.
Patricia received hip replacement surgery in 2007 and, at on the recommendation of a friend, subsequently joined Silver Sneakers to aid her recovery. The activity has been very helpful to her and had an added value of preparing her to combat a heart tumor in 2008. "Not only is my health back, but I have met and made new friends," she says.
Hubert participates in a free disease management program administered by U.S. Preventive Medicine Inc. for residents of Alachua County. The program is available to adults, ages 18 to 64, who have or are at risk for chronic health conditions, including asthma, diabetes, coronary artery disease and hypertension. "It has been almost two years now since I joined CHOICES and it's been an absolute blessing for me," Hubert says. "I believe in it and it has helped me."
Prescott City, AZ
After feeling light-headed and suffering from dizzy spells, Thelma ended a regular routine of entering the hospital for blood pressure issues after LifeMasters Supported SelfCare Inc. began providing her with a visiting nurse. Through this program, she has been able to better manage her health issues and is currently taking her own blood pressure and tracking it. Her spells of dizziness and light-headedness have all but disappeared.
Ysabel is thankful for her LifeMasters Supported SelfCare Inc. program nurse. Through instructive home visits and printed educational materials, was able to improve her health—most notably, her cholesterol levels. Her primary caregiver, her daughter, is appreciative of the progress she's seen in her mother's health. In fact, she even monitors Ysabel's blood pressure on a regular basis with a monitor provided by LifeMasters.
Jean participates in a free disease management program sponsored by U.S. Preventive Medicine Inc. made available to residents of Alachua County. This program is available to adults, ages 18 to 64, who have or are at risk for chronic health conditions, including asthma, diabetes, coronary artery disease and hypertension. "I was ready to give up," Jean recalls. Since taking part in the program, Jean has improved her health risks and made important lifestyle changes. The program has given Jean a future, she says. "If it wasn't for this program, I don't think I'd be able to see 61 years plus."
William has been working on weight management to limit his future development of chronic conditions associated with obesity. Through an Alere-sponsored program, he continues to lose weight and lower his cholesterol. Currently, he has a standard breakfast of oatmeal and frozen fruit and has taken measures to limit his beer intake. He has also noted a marked improvement in managing stress and he credits the program's guidance for this success.
Diagnosed early with juvenile diabetes, Justin has had to manage chronic conditions most of his life. After years of insulin injections, he began working with St. Claire Regional Medical Center's Diabetic Education Team on a specialized plan for his treatment and well-being that included diet management, exercise, medication, skin care and emergency procedure training. In his words, the "Diabetic Education Team has made all the difference in my life."
St. Louis, MO
Charles is a 62-year-old diabetic who participates in a chronic care/wellness program sponsored by Alere. Currently, Charlie is pleased with the progress he's made adjusting to having to use Byetta and insulin. At the beginning of his treatment, he was extremely scared of having to use such medications. Thanks to his work with the program's staff, he has become confident in being able to identify problems he might have related to his diabetes. "I feel that the staff working this program does a great job with my various medical conditions," he says.
Stanley has been in the Billings Clinic's Heart Failure program for more than five years. While he periodically visits the office for blood pressure checks, weight checks, oxygen levels and other services, he also calls in daily weight to monitor his water retention. The accessibility this program has provided him has trained him well at monitoring his own health and he has, on numerous occasions when feeling something was "not right," called the office, provided his own diagnosis and had his medication changed upon physician review of his self-reported symptoms.
Stanley is very thankful for his participation in the Billings Clinic's Heart Failure Program, which allows him to better manage his weight. By keeping a closer eye on this himself, he's alerted to fluid retention, need to take additional medication and additional checks that keep him healthy. "Overall, this is a good program because it keeps me out of the hospital and keeps me more aware of what is going on with myself," Stanley says.
After retiring and moving to Montana to pursue a simpler life, Jacqueline was diagnosed with diabetes and sleep apnea. Sensing that she needed support for managing her chronic conditions, Jacqueline finally accepted help from a nurse provided through APS Healthcare's Healthy Together program. "I appreciate her warm and caring personality and her commitment to my health care," Jacqueline says of her nurse. "I view her as the continuity I was lacking. No matter what doctor I see, she is there and knows me."
Robert participates in the Billings Clinic's Heart Failure Program and is impressed with the results. The education he receives in all facets has dramatically improved his wellness. Between exercise, diet improvements and even his participation in social activities, Robert believes strongly that "these are special people. They become like family and they do their best to keep me out of the hospital."
Since being enrolled in the Experience Health program in North Dakota, Joel has lost weight and lowered his blood pressure and cholesterol level and has greatly improved his diabetes situation. Experience Health ND is a free, community-based care management program, administered by U.S. Preventive Medicine Inc., for Medicaid recipients living in North Dakota. The program is available to individuals ages 5 to 64 who have or are at risk for chronic health conditions, including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes and congestive heart failure. With the help of his RN Care Manager, Joel has had great success in the Experience Health ND program. He has lost 40 pounds since starting the program and appreciates the help and guidance.
David participates in the Partners in Better Health Program, sponsored by Alere, as a result of a 2007 case of congestive heart failure. He noticed the difference disease management programs make immediately. He was provided educational materials, health coaching and 24/7 access to a nurse hotline. "I will participate in the Partners in Better Health program as long as it's available to me," he says.
Adrian has a long history of diabetes that limits his mobility and kidney functions. After working with a nutritionist that provided disease management services, counseling and exercise recommendations, Adrian began to see small improvements in his health. Grateful for the wealth of information and support, Adrian was able to navigate a progressive and successful improvement in wellness.
Ft. Worth, TX
Laura has participated in the Silver Sneakers program for some time in an effort to control her high blood pressure, diabetes, stiff muscles and weight. She says the difference in her health since joining Silver Sneakers is the difference between night and day. In addition, she has found, in her words, a "second home" at the McDonald's YMCA, where she participates in her wellness activities.