We're All In This Together

By Katie Sciba
May 17, 2013 at 12:17 a.m.

"Don't boss me." She didn't actually say it while we were getting ready, but I could see it on my daughter's face. I had to start singing the "High School Musical" theme song, much to my teenager's chagrin.

"We're all in this together. Cause we know, blah, blah, blah, I forgot the rest." I sang amidst the eye rolling. None of us want to be bossed around.

This is Texas, and we are individuals. We love independence. We are competitive. This is confirmed as I watched my daughters ride their horses in their rodeo this past Saturday. But, there are times when independence is lost temporarily or permanently.

Many of our patients tell me that loss of independence is the most difficult thing they have to cope with. As you lead in your own health care, maintaining independence should be one of your long-term goals.

You may not be getting your bikini body ready for summer, but you can set goals to stay healthy and maintain independence. In your healthcare community, there are many people working together to assist you when you need it.

Ronda Newman, a registered nurse case manager at Citizens Medical Center, has been a valuable resource for this singing social worker. Newman, who has worked in almost every field of nursing for 31 years, says that she finds helping patients with future plans very meaningful work that involves action and not just words.

Newman said patients can get overwhelmed at discharge time and she helps them with safety, having a home plan and finding community resources. Newman works hard to coordinate care with other community organizations to help patients meet their needs.

Even people who are homebound have choices. As much as we love our independence, our individual choices affect others. Our health care community is competitive, and each organization (be it home health, nursing facility or hospital) is working to provide the best health services with individual uniqueness.

This competition is good because it requires everyone to bring you quality care and choices. I work with nurses, social workers, physicians and therapists from hospitals, nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, Veteran's Affairs, community outreach organizations, the housing authority and many more organizations to help our patients.

We all have to work together in order to give you the best care, and from my experience, this health care community tries hard to do this.

Mary Nell Fillmore, the Director of Case Management at DeTar Hospital evidently had her patients as priority when I first went to see her. She is a busy lady, but she didn't hesitate to tell me that she used to be a barrel racer.

Mary Nell, who has practiced nursing for 31 years loves helping patients to know what resources can help meet their needs. Mary Nell, said that she works with all disciplines to ensure that patients are able to maintain a good quality of life.

This is important to Mary Nell, because she sees patients who have worked hard all their lives to have quality of life, and she collaboratively coordinates so they can make informed decisions in their healthcare.So what is your plan for maintaining your health and independence? Mary Nell, Ronda and the rest of us here in this healthcare community are here to help, but you have to be the boss. Boss yourself into new goals for this year or for the next five. Here are a few tips:•  Talk to your doctor about the future of your health. Ask what you can do to improve your health and maintain independence this year. Start small.

•  Meet with your family to discuss a long-term care plan. Discuss the hard questions of what you will do if you were to lose the ability to live independently.

• Implement a plan. An easy goal set example would be: Get active, eat healthy, and help others.

Katie Sciba is a writer, a licensed social worker, a pastor's wife and a mother from Victoria. She works for AARN Health Services and blogs online at Always Simply Begin.



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