When people don’t have insurance they often rely on the Emergency Room for all of their medical care. For patients with complicated medical problems, this can mean trip after trip to the hospital. This is taxing on the patient, their family, and the entire community. In this situation, patients often bounce from crisis to crisis, never really gaining control of their health. And, the cost to the community in terms of emergency services is extremely expensive.
This is why we started our dedicated hospital discharge clinic at our Cowardin location. Every Tuesday, recent hospital discharges come in for an initial screening. They receive financial screening, social work assessment, depression screening, medications review, and prescription medications. Then, just three days later, on Friday morning, they have their first medical appointment.
Estella is one of the patients who recently came to be seen at our discharge clinic. Estella has faced multiple challenges over the years. She is a long time diabetic and has a bowel disorder that resulted in removal of part of her intestine and insertion of a feeding tube. With nowhere else to turn, Estella found herself returning to the ER every two to three weeks for insulin injections or to treat infections caused by her feeding tube.
All of this was taking a severe toll on her physical health and well-being and caused major disruption to her family’s life.
When Estella first came to our Cowardin Clinic, she was weak and feeling hopeless. Our discharge clinic staff walked her and her family through each step of her treatment plan including learning about her medications and how to inject them, and how to properly care for her feeding tube to avoid infections.
After a few visits, Estella’s blood sugar levels were well controlled for the first time in years. Estella has renewed energy and we’ve even caught a smile or two. She is now better able to care for her family, and has expressed the hope that soon she will be able to return to work part time.
Providing this care to Estella is a win for her, her family, and the community!