Program offers education, encouragement to patientsPublished 11:15am Monday, January 11, 2010
By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star
For many, questions surrounding health care have been revolving around reform. Many Americans are wondering just what that reform will mean to their insurance rates and coverage.
But that’s not the only issue facing Americans today when it comes to their health.
Those who do have health care, may be holding off on visits as they continue to struggle with tighter financial belts.
A program offered by Lakeland HealthCare offers a little relief. The free program not only provides men and women with vital information about their health, but works with the client’s physician in an effort to provide quality and necessary care.
HeartSafe is a free program for the public giving people a chance to get a look at where they stand on the health of their hearts.
“The program is really designed to identify and educate members of our community who are at risk of heart disease,” said Tami Goslee, registered nurse with Lakeland’s HealthCare’s Center for Health Enhancement and the HeartSafe program. “And then we try to work with their physician or get them into a physician so they can do the follow up. And it’s a free program”
Patients can get a heart risk assessment online through the HeartSafe program.
“It’s basically a list of questions,” Goslee said.
Patients are asked about their numbers – blood pressure, cholesterol and other vital information about their health as well as age and whether or not they may have a family history of heart disease.
“We talk about, did you know or have you ever had your cholesterol checked,” Goslee said. “(And) kind of educate them about the controllable and uncontrollable risk factors.”
The program is offered on the first Friday of every month in Niles at the Niles-Buchanan YMCA.
Patients who go through the program also have the option of being contacted by a nurse.
“And then we follow up,” Goslee said. “We have them come back in four months. We give them some things to accomplish and then we check on them again for free.”
“I think as a society we’re getting better that we need to know what our numbers are, that that’s a really good indicator of heart risk,” Goslee said.
But because of a tough economy, “that’s something we stop spending money on,” Goslee said. Fear of costs for prescriptions and doctor visits are keeping people away.
“So this program educates lifestyle changes,” she said.
“We’re all about education” that can help people decrease the risk, Goslee said.
Of course, with each patient there may be a varied course of action needed dependent upon their overall health.
“There are many resources,” Goslee said. Those working through the HeartSafe program can help get those patients informed about those resources. “It’s just getting them started so they can learn about the free classes,” she said.
And should they needed a course of treatment, patients don’t have to feel in the dark.
“That’s the one thing I think about the program that I also think is beneficial,” Goslee said. “I’s that you have someone who’s following up with you.”
Goslee reiterates that the program works with a patient’s physician in order to give them the best possible care.
For more information visit www.lakelandregional.org.