Kathy Neely: Nurse navigators guide patients on health care journey

03/02/2014 8:01 AM

03/02/2014 8:01 AM

Visiting a hospital can be overwhelming. In addition to dealing with the reality of a disease or procedure, patients must schedule follow-up appointments, fill out paperwork and – sometimes – make life-changing decisions, all in an unfamiliar and stressful environment.

At Wesley Medical Center’s family of campuses, we want to help. We know how important it is for patients to have someone in their corner to provide information, guidance and support throughout their treatment and beyond. Called nurse navigators, these medical experts are here to help patients find their way through the often complex process of visits and treatments and answer any questions patients might have.

To help meet our patients’ needs, we have recently created nurse navigators for several of our services, including women’s health, orthopedics and our new structural heart program.

Women and babies

We help women cope with complex issues.

Any mother can be overwhelmed with a new baby, and Ashley Rumford had just given birth to triplets.

“Ashley looked frazzled,” said Jolinda Kelley, Wesley’s nurse navigator for women’s services. “I asked her how I could help. She held up a stack of paperwork. Paperwork wasn’t what she really needed to focus on. I asked again, and she said she really wanted a shower. So I helped with that first.”

A registered nurse, Kelley is able to help patients manage multiple health issues before, during and after hospitalization. She is available to help navigate patients through financial and community resources, while also serving as a liaison between the hospital and patients’ physicians.

“The complexity of the health care system can be overwhelming. That’s why I’m here,” Kelley said.

To learn more about this service, speak with your doctor or call Kelley at 316-204-2728.

Joint replacements

We promote faster healing.

The orthopedic programs at Wesley and Galichia Heart Hospital provide a comprehensive approach to joint replacement that guides patients through their surgeries and recoveries, so they’re back to doing what they love as soon as possible.

“The hospital stay for joint replacement surgery is relatively quick, but it’s one of the most major and life-changing procedures we do,” said Amanda Page, Galichia’s knee and hip program coordinator and nurse navigator.

The Rapid Recovery program at both hospitals includes pre-surgery classes, where navigators walk patients through what they can expect, including surgery preparation, the surgery itself and their outpatient therapy.

“Our knee and hip classes only last an hour, but that hour makes everything so much easier and better,” said Paula Hopkins, an advanced practice nurse who serves as the Wesley program coordinator.

Patients who are unable to attend the hip and knee classes in-person can request to have the materials mailed to them, which they can review while on the phone with a navigator. Once they arrive at the hospital, our navigators are again by their sides, visiting several times per day to ensure their needs are met.

“I’m here for anything, whether my patients have a question about their treatment or they have a family member who needs help finding the cafeteria,” Page said. “If they’re not comfortable, they’re not going to heal well, and I want to do everything I can to help with that.”

To sign up for a free hip and knee seminar, please call 316-962-6000.

Heart disease

We can help coordinate care.

The structural heart program at Wesley combines the expertise of cardiac surgeons and interventional cardiologists to provide the best treatment options for patients with complex heart disorders.

This multidisciplinary approach offers patients access to several specialists at one time in order to expedite their care. It also provides access to Andrea Gallardo, an advanced practice nurse and structural heart program coordinator.

Gallardo coordinates the medical and surgical teams to evaluate and treat each patient in the structural heart program and ensures continuity of patient care throughout the entire process.

“I want to answer questions, explain treatments and serve as a source of comfort and support at a time when patients need it most,” Gallardo said.

To learn more about the structural heart program, speak with your doctor or call Gallardo at 316-962-6340.

We can make a difference.

Nurse navigators are dedicated to helping each patient on his or her health care journey. We will work closely with patients and physicians to ensure everyone has the information he or she needs and the support required – every patient, every time.

To learn more about these programs, visit wesleymc.com.

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