I mentioned in a recent post that Keith has a great team at his Dialysis Clinic. I love the team approach and it works really well for us. This is really the way all health care should be.
I first became familiar with this approach a number of years ago when I was on the board of directors for a small eating disorder treatment organization. Eating disorders impact the mind, body, and spirit – so the most effective treatment addresses all of these areas. A doctor with the organization also realized that each of the professionals involved in treatment got a different part of the story, so bringing everyone together as a team allowed them to bring a more focused and complete approach to treating their patients.
It makes sense. Bringing in all of the professionals you need to work together holistically makes sure that everyone is on the same page. If a patient mentions something one member of the team and not another the information still gets to everyone on the team,
Keith’s team consists of two dialysis nurses, a social worker, a nutritionist, and a doctor. There are also lab techs we see from time to time, but they aren’t directly involved in his care during the monthly appointments. Traditionally we start with a blood draw and then move around the room to meet with each expert.
As I’m sure you can imagine, we seem to spend the most time with the social worker. S (I’m only using initials since I haven’t asked if I could identify them) is very positive and has been great with helping to track paperwork and stay on top of things. She can’t necessarily make calls for us, but she’s been really helpful tracking down numbers, offer and researching other places for help. Every time we meet her she tells me she wishes she could do more and our situation deeply troubles her – she keeps saying that she can’t believe nothing seems to be improving or working out for us.
N the nutritionist is a lot of fun and jokes with both of us. Her kids go to the same school as our’s do and she’s helped out with more than instructions on what and what not to eat. She teases Keith about what he likes to eat, and what he shouldn’t eat – unsurprisingly those are often the same things. She’s great at explaining what is in different foods to help improve all of the levels we watch each month.
The doctor looks at everything and then tells us he is improving, but very slowly. She’s tough, but you can see how much she cares written on her face. She has a great laugh and seems fascinated that we’re a family of nerds. I can’t begin to tell you how great it is to look in a doctor’s eyes and see that they’re listening and they’re on your side.
Our nurses T and V are incredible. They’ve taken panicked phone calls after hours. They’ve worried for us. They have teased and harassed and picked on Keith until he would listen. Now that he’s feeling a bit better he’s giving it back as good as he gets it. They seem to love it.
We are so fortunate to have found a team of professionals that don’t just know what they’re doing but actually care. Our leaps forward are their leap forwards. Our setbacks send them searching for answers and making changes to keep us from losing more ground. They help keep our spirits up and bring smiles to our faces when we can’t find the strength to do it ourselves. They tell us we can get through this. Maybe most importantly, they keep telling us that we aren’t alone in the fight. They’re with us and will keep fighting for us until we find the right combination of everything to get Keith back on his feet and keep him there.
With friends like these, and that’s what they’ve quickly become – friends, there is no doubt that they’re right.