Our Members' Stories

With a family and personal history of heart disease, Judy made sure to stay active and eat a healthy diet. For 39 years, her job as a physical education teacher kept her on her toes as she ran around the gym with her young students.

When she began experiencing extreme fatigue and shortness of breath, Judy visited her doctor for cardiac and stress testing. Neither test indicated anything abnormal however, two months later while making family lunches, Judy suddenly felt sick to her stomach, dizzy and started sweating profusely. Her family rushed her to the hospital where another EKG again showed normal results. Due to her history, the hospital kept her for observation; within 20 minutes, she suffered a major heart attack, causing severe damage to her heart muscle.

Judy

"It was wonderful. Every morning I’d input my results and the device would talk to me. It was a great support system after going through the heart attack; and I didn’t have to go into my doctor’s office to do it."

Judy’s primary care provider participates in CareFirst’s Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) program and suggested she participate in the chronic care coordination program. Through this program, registered nurses provide one-on-one support to patients living with multiple and complex chronic conditions. Judy agreed, and began working with her nurse, Anne, a few days after her discharge from the hospital.

One of Anne’s primary concerns was Judy’s low blood pressure, associated dizziness and shortness of breath. She set Judy up with an enhanced monitoring service so she could track and record her blood pressure daily at home. Anne was able to closely analyze Judy’s blood pressure readings and symptoms and share the information with her doctors. In turn, Judy’s doctors were able to spot trends and adjust her medication accordingly. Judy recalls, “It was wonderful. Every morning I’d input my results and the device would talk to me. It was a great support system after going through the heart attack; and I didn’t have to go into my doctor’s office to do it.”

Judy’s heart attack also impacted her life in other ways; she retired on disability and drastically scaled back certain activities she loved. Anne helped her work through these significant adjustments by focusing on what she could do versus couldn’t. After Judy completed cardiac rehabilitation, Anne enrolled her in a special exercise program for cardiac patients at a local health club. Judy is now able to work out regularly and says, “Anne’s encouraging weekly phone calls, personal attention and support really made a difference on days when I was down. I could bounce questions off her without having to call the doctor.”

Another notable change for Judy was the addition of numerous medications to her regimen. Anne provided Judy with extensive education on medications including side effects and symptoms. She coordinated a comprehensive medication review during which Judy spoke directly with a pharmacist to discuss each medication she was taking. During this consultation, the pharmacist discovered Judy was, in fact, taking one of her new medications incorrectly and she was able to correct it immediately.

Today, Judy is staying busy and enjoys spending time with her grandchildren. When asked how she would describe the program she said, “The program is invaluable. It helps people who are scared and dealing with life-changing health issues. The personal attention is so nice – having someone who is really looking into what is going on with me is just fantastic.”

"Anne’s encouraging weekly phone calls, personal attention and support really made a difference on days when I was down. I could bounce questions off her without having to call the doctor."

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