Monthly Archives: March 2014

Let’s Go Algoma Continues to Lead Community Wellness

Ministry’s community wellness program, “Let’s Go Algoma!” is kicking off its next phase with three exciting components.

1. A FREE series of 12 workshops will be offered starting April 3. Classes take place on Thursdays at the Algoma Community Center (Knudson Hall) from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Participants must sign up for ALL 12 workshops. For reservations call 920.493.5979.

LGA Schedule2. Ministry will partner with local employers including Algoma Hardwoods and the Algoma Schools to provide on-site fitness classes and health/nutritional counseling to employees.

3. Dr. Nate Hayes will relaunch his popular “Walk with Dr. Nate” program, open to all. Walks will begin in the parking lot of the Ministry North Shore Algoma Clinic (815 Jefferson St. Algoma) at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, starting Tuesday, April 22…Earth Day!

Phase one of Let’s Go Algoma was a great success, with more than 80 residents participating in free fitness classes during the long winter months. “We are excited to continue our partnerships with the Algoma community to bring more wellness opportunities to the people of this area,” says Matt Luders, Health and Wellness Executive at Ministry.

Let’s Go Algoma! Is a Success

Ministry Door County Medical Center’s new wellness initiative “Let’s Go Algoma!” is enjoying resounding success in the Kewaunee County community. From January-March, Ministry partnered with several local organizations to offer free fitness classes for Algoma residents. More than 80 people, ranging in age from 16-81, participated in the program.

WBAY News covered the program and told the story of Algoma resident and Ministry patient Dan Haas, who, with the help of Dr. Nate Hayes and Let’s Go Algoma, has lost over 70 pounds and become stronger, more flexible and more fit.

Click here to watch the WBAY segment on Let's Go Algoma!

Click here to watch the WBAY segment on Let’s Go Algoma!

Phase two of Let’s Go Algoma will bring wellness programs directly to employers in the Algoma Community, offer a free 12-week workshop for residents and re-launch the popular “Walk with Dr. Nate” program.


The Affordable Care Act at Work: Ministry Helps Patients Help Themselves

Miriam Dorn and Sandy Pierre are both lifetime patients at Ministry Door County Medical Center. “My children were all born here,” says Miriam, “and the care I’ve received throughout the years has been amazing.” Sandy Pierre agrees. “I’ve had nothing but excellent care here, and so have my children and grandchildren.”

When both women found themselves needing surgery last month, they were grateful that Ministry staff had helped them sign up for the health care exchange insurance that covered their care.

“Ministry really helped me,” says Sandy Pierre. “I worked for Emerson for years, but when they closed their doors 11 years ago, it became difficult for me to get insurance I could afford.” Sandy was able to receive care at Ministry through the Community Care program that last year provided four million dollars of donated care to individuals. But when she found out that she could purchase affordable insurance through the new exchanges, or the Affordable Care Act, she did. “This way, Ministry is being paid for the care they provide, and I’m contributing to my own health care. That’s the way it should be.”

Sandy Pierre

Sandy Pierre

In January, Sandy underwent a successful surgery with Dr. Charles Schutt.  Her deductible was still covered by Ministry’s Community Care program, but the rest of her care was paid for by insurance. And she feels great. “Dr. Schutt was so calming and comforting. I made a very quick recovery and I’m back doing what I want to do,” she says.

As a single mom working in Door County’s busy restaurant industry, Miriam Dorn has been able to make a living, but has never had health insurance provided by her employer. She also put a lot of wear and tear on her knees, and by last fall, she was in near-constant pain. “I take good care of myself, I exercise at the Y, but it was getting bad,” she says. Her recent total knee replacement with Dr. Dan Tomaszewski gave her a new lease on life. “I have almost no pain, and it’s only a week after surgery,” she beams. “I would encourage anyone who needs it to have this surgery at Ministry.”

Miriam Dorn

Miriam Dorn

Keith Volkmann, Ministry’s patient financial advisor, walked Miriam through the process of enrolling in the health care exchanges before her surgery. “It was so helpful. If I hadn’t had his help, I think I would have gotten discouraged,” she says.

Miriam also gives high marks to her primary care physician, Dr. Phil Arnold and to Dr. Sarah Keller whom she sees for her arthritis. “The doctors at Ministry really know how to talk to you. They make you feel special.” And she is also glad that she is paying for her own insurance that covers her care. “It’s fair. Everyone should have to pay something.”

Matt Luders, health and wellness executive at Ministry, agrees that the health care exchanges are a win-win for patients and providers. “The Affordable Health Care Act allows us at Ministry to reinvest our dollars into patient care. We’re still donating care to those who need it to cover deductibles, but we encourage everyone to contact us for help in registering for the exchanges.”

To learn more about enrolling in the health care exchanges, contact Keith Volkmann at (920) 746-3707.

Ministry’s Memory Clinic: Helping Patients “Do Something” About Dementia

Door County has the third highest percentage of adults aged 55 and older in the state of Wisconsin, and by 2015 it is to projected to have the highest. And since age is the number one risk factor for dementia, Door County has a need for quality dementia care.

Recognizing this reality, Ministry Door County Medical Center established the Ministry Memory Clinic, a comprehensive memory care department whose mission is to provide excellence in the early diagnosis and treatment of dementia. Any Door or Kewaunee resident can receive a free screening evaluation, often provided in the home environment, as well as more thorough diagnostics, therapeutic services, and connection to community resources.

Memory Clinic outreach specialist Christy Wisniewski

Memory Clinic outreach specialist Christy Wisniewski

Christy Wisniewski, outreach specialist at the Memory Clinic, has seen first hand how the work of the clinic impacts people’s lives. “Many patients learn that their dementia is caused by a treatable condition. If their dementia is caused by Alzheimer’s disease, for which there is not yet a cure, they become empowered with treatment and research options, wellness opportunities and greater future planning,” she says. “And with many active older people who want to stay in their homes, we’re meeting a need to help people do just that.” Since opening in 2011, the Memory Clinic has had approximately 300 referrals and served these patients through screenings, diagnosis and treatment, as well as ongoing monitoring and communication with the patients and their caregivers.

Wisniewski recently worked with a couple in which the husband, in his early 60s, had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s by his primary care provider, but given little information on how to proceed. The couple was feeling overwhelmed, and found Ministry’s Memory Clinic through an online search. “Their first question was ‘What can I do?’” says Wisniewski. She connected the couple to resources in the community, gave the man exercises and opportunities to improve his brain health, and shared local resources with his wife to help her deal with the stresses of caregiving. “It was very gratifying to see their gradual relief, as they learned that yes, there are many things to be done to improve the health of a patient with dementia.”

Deb Whitelaw-Gorski, director of Rehab services at Ministry, says the quality of the Memory Clinic team brings a high level of care to patients. “Our occupational therapists participate in the evaluation process,” she says, “which helps patients understand how a diagnosis affects their daily lives.” Dr. Paul Board, an internal medicine specialist with expertise in the diagnosis of dementia-related disorders, works with the team to understand the details of each individual patient’s diagnosis, which includes input from families and caregivers. “Our goal is to help patients leave the clinic with a greater understanding of their situation, and a plan and resources to help them move forward,” Whitelaw-Gorski adds.

In addition to the Memory Clinic that diagnoses and treats dementia, Ministry is sponsoring several new community programs that address the needs of patients with dementia and their families. Memory In Development (M.IN.D) is a brain enhancement program for people with early memory loss or early dementia diagnosis and their caregiver.  This 6-week workshop will take place at Scandia Village Good Samaritan in Sister Bay, and will meet Wednesdays from 12-3 pm starting September 24, 2014. M.IN.D. offers participants the opportunity “to do something about it” through cognitive exercise and physical exercise, and gives caregivers exposure to local support resources.


The Memory Clinic helps patients and their family members

Click here for more information about Ministry’s Memory Clinic. To register for M.IN.D,  or call Christy Wisniewski at (920) 746-3504.