Vim & Vigor - Summer 2018 - Community Healthcare - 51

St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart, in
partnership with Superior Ambulance
of Indiana, launched an initiative in July
2016 to help reduce readmissions and
ensure patients are managing their care
at home. The Community Paramedicine
program is a patient care coordination
effort in which paramedics periodically
check on chronically ill patients in their
homes for at least 30 days following discharge from the hospital.
"I'm the troubleshooter," says Donald
Konecki, a paramedic with Superior
Ambulance Service and the point person for the Community Paramedicine
program at St. Mary Medical Center. "I
try to find out what issues exist, either
medications or appointments or misunderstandings. I try to fix it or clarify it so
that it doesn't become a condition that
might require hospitalization."
St. Mary Medical Center is the first
hospital in Northwest Indiana to offer
this service. It is currently available to
patients with congestive heart failure
(CHF) or chronic obstructive pulmonary
disease (COPD).
"For CHF patients, we monitor their
weight through daily weighing so that we
can follow trends," Konecki explains. "This
is so we can catch concerns early, such as
if they're putting on two or three pounds
of weight in a day. For COPD patients,
we make sure that they are doing their
breathing treatments correctly and that
they have the right medications."
Konecki is part of a care team that
also includes a quality care navigator, Dan Osika, a clinical case manager,
Julie Hosch, and a social worker, Lora
Darmofalski, as well as the patients' physicians, therapists and other caregivers. All
work together to help patients remain on
track with their health management.
More than 500 patients at
St. Mary Medical Center qualified for the
program during its first 18 months.

DO YOU QUALIFY?
Community Paramedicine at St. Mary Medical Center is available to qualified CHF and
COPD patients for at least 30 days following discharge. Eligible patients must live within
30 minutes of the hospital, located at 1500 S. Lake Park Ave. in Hobart, to receive services. Patients who believe they may qualify for Community Paramedicine services are
encouraged to speak with their cardiologist or pulmonologist about a program referral.

"Our goal at St. Mary Medical Center
is to help our community members
remain safe after they leave the hospital
by helping them to manage their health
conditions at home," says CEO Janice
Ryba. "Our Community Paramedicine
program educates and empowers
our patients to be active partners in
their treatment and recovery, so that
together we can achieve positive outcomes with fewer Emergency visits
and hospitalizations."
As part of his visits, Konecki makes
sure patients have the items necessary
to organize their daily routines and monitor their own progress.

Kusiak says he likes that Konecki can
answer questions about his symptoms,
medications and progress.
"That's why I like the option of having Don here," Kusiak says. "He's a good
sounding board."
"We've gotten a lot of positive
feedback and thanks," Konecki says.
"Many patients tell us, 'Hey, I never
knew this' or 'I appreciate someone
checking in on me.' Families like it
because when you have a loved one
who is home by themselves, you have
somebody coming in at least once a
week to see how they're doing." ■

Konecki (left) and Kusiak review prescription medications used to treat Kusiak's
congestive heart failure.

SUMME R 2018

51



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vim & Vigor - Summer 2018 - Community Healthcare

Contents
Vim & Vigor - Summer 2018 - Community Healthcare - Cover1
Vim & Vigor - Summer 2018 - Community Healthcare - Cover2
Vim & Vigor - Summer 2018 - Community Healthcare - Contents
Vim & Vigor - Summer 2018 - Community Healthcare - 2
Vim & Vigor - Summer 2018 - Community Healthcare - 3
Vim & Vigor - Summer 2018 - Community Healthcare - 4
Vim & Vigor - Summer 2018 - Community Healthcare - 5
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Vim & Vigor - Summer 2018 - Community Healthcare - Cover3
Vim & Vigor - Summer 2018 - Community Healthcare - Cover4
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