Heart and stroke patients can rely on a new resource at St. Rose Health Center that is designed to prevent further problems and provide a personal health coach to manage day-to-day issues.
Kristin Steele, R.N., is filling the new position created as a result of St. Rose joining the statewide Kansas Heart and Stroke Collaborative. (KHSC).
The University of Kansas Hospital sponsors the KHSC; its overall goal is to improve the health of heart and stroke patients in rural Kansas.
While Steele cares for patients in St. Rose’s Cardiac Rehab Department on a part-time basis, she is also available to serve as health coach for residents of Barton County.
“I am working directly with people who have a history of heart or stroke issues,” Steele said, noting they have at least one other chronic diagnosis such as diabetes. “I monitor their general health issues on a regular basis.
“But first comes a home visit,” she elaborated. “This is the best way to start building a relationship. I can talk with people face-to-face, instead of being only a voice on the phone.”
Steele will check in with patients by phone at least monthly to ensure they understand their medications and conditions.
“If a problem arises, we will keep their doctors informed,” Steele noted. “For example, if one doctor adds a medication, we will inform all the other physicians involved.
“We also will remind patients of doctors’ appointments,” she added. “By staying in contact we can often catch a problem – even over the phone. KHSC priorities include preventive care and avoiding hospital admissions. Early detection and prevention are key to everything.”
However, if a patient does require a hospital stay, Steele would schedule another home visit after discharge from the facility. This allows her to be up-to-date on the changes in health status.
“This will help close the gaps for better patient-centered care,” Steele explained. “It is so important for heart and stroke patients to be informed and take the right medications at the proper dosages.”
Steele’s Cardiac Rehab position includes caring for patients after surgery or a procedure such as stent placement. She collaborates with Mike Penn, R.N., and Lori Hammeke, respiratory therapist.
“We guide our patients as they use the treadmill and other exercise equipment in our Cardiac Rehab facility,” she explained. “We want to help their hearts get stronger and get them back on their feet as they make major lifestyle changes.”
Steele noted she was impressed with St. Rose’s personnel and services at the outset. “St. Rose has great leadership, and everyone is very professional,” she said. “In addition, St. Rose focuses on disease prevention. As a health coach, I can further explore wellness promotion with each patient and within the community.”
She is available to speak to community and civic groups; her number is 785-656-4526.
The nurse’s background includes care for cardiac patients at several facilities. She also successfully completed KHSC training.
Steele earned her associate’s degree in nursing at Mt. San Jacinto College in Menifee, Ca., and is finishing her bachelor’s in nursing through Newman University at Wichita.
Zena Jacobs, St. Rose site manager, said Steele is a good fit for this new position.
“Kristin exhibits such a caring attitude and is confident in her nursing skills,” Jacobs commented. “Every day, she challenges herself to be the best nurse she can be and embraces every situation with a positive attitude.
“This KHSC is an important new resource at St. Rose because it helps us engage our at-risk patients on a more personal level,” she elaborated. “We are gratified to play this key role in our patients’ overall health and well being.”
St. Rose specializes in primary care, prevention and wellness. Services include St. Rose Family Medicine, Convenient Care Walk-in Clinic, Great Bend Internists, imaging, Cardiac Rehab, Special Nursing Services, one-day surgical procedures, Golden Belt Home Health & Hospice and a comprehensive Specialty Clinic. St. Rose is co-owned by Hays Medical Center and Centura Health.