Monthly Archives: May 2016

Be Active and Safe This Spring and Summer

by Veronica Behme, Orthopedic Care Coordinator

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As the weather warms up we all look forward to being outside and being more active!  Follow these tips to avoid falls:

  • Know your medications: Talk to your healthcare provider about your medications and be aware of side effects.  Some medications may increase your risk of falls because they interact with other medications or increase drowsiness.
  • Be aware of your health conditions: Some conditions increase your risk of falls.  Be aware if you have dizziness, joint pain, numbness, shortness of breath, weak muscles or balance issues.
  • Exercise to maintain balance and muscle strength: Following a healthy and active lifestyle helps you avoid falls.  Make physical activity part of your daily routine.
  • Wear sensible shoes: Wearing shoes that fit well and have non-slip soles will help you avoid falls.
  • Have your eyes tested annually: Good vision helps you to avoid falls. Have your eyes checked yearly and wear your glasses as all times.
  • Keep a safe home environment: Keep your home well lit, especially in stairways.  Use automatic nightlights to illuminate your path to the bathroom and keep a lamp within easy reach on your bedside table.   Remove throw rugs and electrical cords which tend to be tripping hazards, install grab bars and non-skid mats in the bathroom, and use non-skid treads on stairs.

If you have a history of falls, you are more likely to fall again.  If you’ve fallen recently see your provider to determine the cause of your falls.

DCMC Achieves Top 20 Critical Access Hospital Distinction

Door County Medical Center was named one of the iVantage HEALTHSTRONG Top 20 Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) in the United States, selected from the Top 100 CAH list released earlier this year.

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“It is an honor to be recognized with this high level of distinction for providing care that really is the best of the best,” said Gerald Worrick, DCMC President/CEO. “This designation recognizes the trusted, expert care available right here in Door County. We’re proud that our doctors, nurses and associates live and work alongside our patients, which brings a level of caring and commitment to those relationships that is truly special.”

The iVantage INDEX is the industry’s most comprehensive rating of US acute care hospitals, and the only one to include the country’s 1,300 CAHs. The results measure hospital performance across nine different performance pillars, including quality, affordability, outcomes and patient perspective.

 More information about the data can be found at http://www.ivantageindex.com/.

Gwen Haight: Ready for Anything

As a surgical nurse for 27 years, Gwen Haight has worked all areas of surgery including outpatient, admitting and recovery, and of course, the operating room. But in her 17 years at Door County Medical Center, she’s only become more energized about her career.

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“Surgery is exciting, because you have to be on your toes ready for anything, and be able to figure it out. That takes a lot of expertise and teamwork.” As manager of surgical services, Haight’s days are full of tasks ranging from coordinating schedules and communicating with surgeons and staff, to ordering up-to-date equipment, implementing protocols and working with volunteers. Above all, Haight is responsible for making sure the overall quality of the patient experience is excellent, and always improving. “It’s kind of like being a stay at home mom,” she laughs. “People ask, what did you do all day? The answer is: everything!”

Haight values her team, and looks forward to regular opportunities to collaborate with staff. “We have a lot of open dialogue.” She stays connected to nurses, physicians and techs by getting into the operating room nearly every day, and helping to discharge a patient or fill in when needed.

She also enjoys the patient education aspect of the surgical department. “Surgical patients often come in feeling nervous. We help them understand what to expect. We build that trust and then, post surgery, help them with everything they need to feel ready and confident when it’s time to go home.”

All the hard work pays off when Haight receives a phone call from a patient saying how excellent their experience was. “Knowing a patient received the care they wanted to receive is the ultimate reward,” she says. “And when I get to pass that appreciation on to our team, and make their day, it’s a great feeling.”

Outside of her role at DCMC, Haight stays busy as mother to five children, and also enjoys volunteering each year at the Door County Triathlon.  Despite her busy life, her passion for her work is fierce. “We’re here to serve those patients. We’re here to serve our community. That is the bottom line. We work hard every day to stay solid, and stay strong.”

New Clinic Addition Provides Improved Patient Experience

The new addition to North Shore Medical Clinic at Ministry Door County Medical Center in Sturgeon Bay began serving patients on Monday, May 9. “In the 20 years since the original clinic was built, Ministry has grown to meet the expanding health care needs of our community,” says Jerry Worrick, CEO of MDCMC. “The new clinic space meets increasing demand for our trusted team of providers, keeping local families and visitors close to home while getting the best medical care.”

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The new clinic provides improved accessibility, convenience and comfort for patients. “Our previous layout required patients to walk down a hall to register, and then proceed to the clinic,” says Jodi Hibbard, director of clinic operations at MDCMC, who led the clinic expansion process. “Now, patients enter from the front of the new addition where they register immediately and then proceed directly into the patient care area.” There are two entrances to the clinic, and Ministry’s popular valet parking services continue to be available.

The new space houses orthopedics, rheumatology and podiatry. Diagnostic imaging and lab services are also located in the new clinic, giving patients a streamlined experience. “The clinic will continue to provide space for the many specialists who offer services here, such as cardiology, neurology and ear, nose and throat,” says Hibbard.

Coffee bar in waiting area

Coffee bar in waiting area

The curved, organic design of the new clinic mirrors the opposite side of the building which houses the Door County Cancer Center. “We conducted many focus groups, both internally and with the community, to get the voice of the customer to aid our planning. The result is a state-of-the-art clinic that is warm and inviting,” says Hibbard. The local focus of the clinic even extends to the art on the walls, with some of the photographs of local scenery submitted by MDCMC’s very own staff.

What you Need to Know about Joint Pain

As a rheumatologist at Ministry Door County Medical Center, Dr. Sarah Keller sees patients who have one thing in common: joint pain. “With more than 100 possible causes for joint pain, it’s my job to be a detective and discover what’s really going on with a patient. Once we know the cause, we can determine what kind of treatment will make you feel better,” she says.

iStock_000062431304_MediumOsteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and connective tissue and muscle diseases are leading causes of joint pain, with less common disorders such as gout and fibromyalgia also playing a part.

What do people with joint pain need to know? Here are three tips from Dr. Keller:

  • See a rheumatologist. The field of rheumatology has grown considerably in the past five years with many newly approved treatments available. If you saw a provider a few years ago, and continue to experience joint pain, it’s a good idea to revisit the issue now.
  • Take notes on your pain. When you see a rheumatologist, a good part of the evaluation is talking about your pain. What is your pain history? How has pain changed? Is there a pattern? Be prepared for a thorough conversation with your provider.
  • Understand what you can do. “Unfortunately, there is no convincing evidence that diet or supplements play a part in relieving joint pain. On the other had, being overweight is linked to joint pain.” Your doctor can discuss a variety of possible treatments with you, including physical therapy, medication and procedures such as joint injections.

Flexing the elbow

“Living with joint pain decreases quality of life,” says Keller. “At Ministry, we are here to help you regain that quality. Ideally, once your condition is diagnosed and the treatment plan is in place, your rheumatologist and primary care provider will work together to optimize your well-being.”

To make an appointment with Dr. Keller, call North Shore Medical Clinic at (920) 746-0510.

Answering the Call: New Call Center Improves Customer Service

Patients calling Ministry Door County Medical Center (MDCMC) are now immediately connected with dedicated call center staff who strive to meet all their scheduling needs and medical information requests. “We’re working towards becoming a ‘one-stop shop’,” says Amy Stanelle, patient access coordinator.

Patients can make appointments at North Shore Medical Clinic or the lab, order prescription refills, access test results, and get information on events. “Our goal is to get patients the information they need as quickly and efficiently as possible,” says Stanelle. “Callers also have more timely access to clinically trained staff.”

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Previously, staff were serving patients walking into the clinic and answering inbound calls. “Now, our registration staff can focus on face-to-face contact with patients, and call center staff can take additional time to get patients’ needs met when they call in. It makes for improved customer service all around.”

With experience as a medical assistant, in a triage call center and in marketing, Stanelle brings together clinical and customer service expertise, leading her team to provide great service. “Patients have been very appreciative of the new approach,” she says.

The MDCMC Call Center can be reached Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at 920.746.0510.