Care that proves the power of human connection
Human connection heals. Just ask Jack and Susan Lewis about their experience with Dignity Health Glendale Memorial Hospital’s Stroke Transitional Care Program.
The program pairs a nurse navigator with a patient and their family to help them adjust to life after stroke. The navigator is a comfort to patients – available to answer all of the questions that arise after a major health incident. They follow up with the patient for one year, mainly via regular telephone calls, to see if the patient is making it to doctor’s appointments, is taking their medications and understanding their dosage, and is adjusting to what is “normal” and what isn’t during their recovery.
Salpi Zakarian, RN, was the navigator for Jack, and formed a connection with him to support the healing process. Equally important to the family, Salpi also formed a connection with Susan, who appreciated the emotional support during this difficult time.
“It’s hard for people to understand how hard it is when the person you love goes through this,” says Susan. “Having nurse Salpi call, checking on Jack to see how he is, was great. But her calls for me meant a lot. Just seeing how am I doing.”
The stroke program has far exceeded expectations and is dramatically improving outcomes for stroke patients. Before the program, the average number of patients who had a secondary stroke was 23 percent within one year of discharge. Tracking the 278 program enrollees over the duration of the three-year program, Glendale Memorial has found the secondary stroke incidence dropped to 2 percent.
“When they’re down, when they’re unable to overcome their difficulties, they’re not going to recover,” says Salpi. “My role is to empower them. To educate them.”
Without a $600,000 grant from Unihealth – at the time the largest private grant given to Glendale Memorial Foundation – this program, and success stories like Jack’s, would not be possible.
Jack and Susan agree that their experience at the hospital, in rehabilitation, and with the transitional care program has been excellent. In an expression of their gratitude for the care they received, the Lewis’ included the hospital in a generous bequest, joining the foundation’s planned giving program.
“Jack is where he is now because of the hospital, and the people and the personnel who work there. No doubt in either of our minds,” says Susan.