Care coordinator: Your personal healthcare manager
Article Date: Apr 12, 2013
When you feel bad more days than you feel good – sometimes it's hard to find your way back to healthy. There's medicine to take, doctor's orders to follow, and insurance to figure out. It can seem pretty overwhelming. But Alegent Creighton Clinic is trying to help you sort through all of the confusion with a nurse who is on your team.
"We've always done a great job of taking care of people when they're sick but wouldn't it be wonderful if we could keep people from getting sick in the first place," said Dr. Rick Rolston, Alegent Creighton Clinic President and CEO.
And that's the role of a care coordinator – a nurse whose sole purpose is to keep you healthy. And the service is free.
"We can help with problems with medicines and cost. We can help find opportunities if you have questions about your health – what does it mean to have diabetes? What does it mean to have COPD? If something is wrong with your lungs, we can help you understand it. We can get you the education you need and help you through this disease process - so you don't have to fight it alone", said Brenda Waters, Nurse Care Coordinator.
Alegent Creighton Clinic has 28 care coordinators located in primary care clinics across the metro. They support patients like BJ Rezek who suffers from a chronic and complex disease by bringing resources and education to him.
"I had no idea how I was going to handle my medical care; I didn't realize there was this much help out there. Brenda doesn't just tell me what to do, she asks me what I want to get out of it", said BJ.
Care coordinators work with patients so they can get a better handle on your disease.
"You're their resource. You are not there to check up and see how well they've done you're there to see what they need", said Brenda.
"Our care coordinator is going to be the reminder - calling you up saying it's time for your appointment, it's time to make sure you get this done. Did you get your prescription filled? We have somebody there who's on your side", said Dr. Rolston.
Care coordinators don't take the place of your primary care doctor they are a part of your medical team making sure all the pieces of your healthcare are delivered in a seamless way - helping you take charge of your care.
"We try to incorporate a team. So every time a patient calls our office, they know they can talk to one of four care coordinators and we all know where they are in their stage of life and their disease" said Brenda.
"Our focus is on wellness, not on sickness. We know people get ill but sometimes they get ill because basic steps of wellness weren't taken - they didn't take their medicine, they didn't exercise, they didn't take the right actions in their lives. The job of a care coordinator, working with the healthcare provider team, is to present you wellness options rather than saying, now that you're sick we'll get you in", said Dr. Rolston.
Care coordinators are another level of care, support, and accountability.
Compassionate care, more efficient care - helping you stay connected when life happens.