Mobile clinic helps long-term care and end-of-life patients

The post-acute and community services clinic meets patients where they are

Mobile clinic helps long-term care and end-of-life patients

With the Good Samaritan Society and Sanford Health, you don’t need to be in a clinic to receive world-class health care.

There’s no better example of this than the post-acute and community services clinic.

‘Bring the care to you’

Ashley Hall is the clinic director. She said the clinic was started because leaders at Sanford “identified that care is changing.” They saw a need to create a clinic without walls, even before the pandemic, to help all patients get access to quality health care.

“As an organization, we decided to do something different and deliver care to the patients in their home. Their home being assisted living facilities, nursing facilities, skilled nursing facilities, as well as senior communities,” she explained

It’s yet another example of how the two separately strong health systems have become even stronger since joining forces in 2019.

She said for these patients, transportation and access is often the biggest barrier when looking for primary care services.

“What we do, and what the providers do, is they bring the care to you. In the home, wherever the patient is at. We understand care is going to continuously change, and as a health care entity we too need to change and make the necessary care delivery changes to meet patients’ needs,” she said.

Compassionate, comprehensive, convenient

Linda Studer was the administrator of the Good Samaritan Society – Luther Manor in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Just recently, she clocked out for the final time in 39 years.

In her retirement, she plans to garden, travel, “and do what I want to do, when I want to do it,” she laughed.

For nearly four decades, she’s had a big hand in providing the excellent care residents can expect at the Good Samaritan Society. As of late, she’s also seen the importance of the new post-acute and community services clinic, because her late mother Vera Wick was a patient.

When the pandemic was in the early stages, Wick, who was 89 years old at the time, was living in an assisted living location. Wick’s dementia was progressing, and in early 2020 she and her sister decided to move their mother to the Good Samaritan Society – Prairie Creek assisted living and memory care unit.

Wick needed care, but there were obstacles. The first, traveling to an unknown location for health care can be upsetting for patients with dementia. The second, for the residents’ safety during the pandemic, Good Samaritan Society wasn’t allowing visitors or “really letting people leave our building,” said Studer.

So, the post-acute and community services, provided by Sanford Health physician Keri Orstad, M.D., was vital for Studer’s mother.

“It was perfect that Dr. Keri Orstad’s clinic was able to accommodate my mother as one of their clients. It was just a win-win for my family, and for my mom.”

Clinic proves valuable for end-of-life, and afterward

Studer said the care her mother received through the clinic was nothing short of comprehensive.

“No matter what, they would do visits. Whether remotely, using technology, her care was always extensive. My mom’s disease had progressed, and (Dr. Orstad) answered all of the kinds of questions that we had,” she said.

Sadly, Studer’s mother passed away after a fall. But even after that, Dr. Orstad was still caring for Studer.

“Dr. Orstad actually came to the hospital to see my sister and me. She spent an hour with us, talking about my mom, talking about the time she had spent with her over the last few months,” she said.

“If I was talking with her today, I would just say thank you. Thank you for your compassion, for being so easy to talk to, and spending the amount of time that families need, that they can get their questions answered. You have compassion for their emotions and what they’re dealing with, and I just greatly appreciate your bedside manner,” she added.

Dr. Orstad said that’s just the kind of care one can expect through this clinic.

“I think that’s just one of the extra touches our clinic tries to provide. We deal with a lot of end-of-life care with our clinic. That’s just what we see. We try to help our patients and our families through that as best we can,” she said.

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Posted In Clear Lake, Community, Family Medicine, Here for all. Here for good., Internal Medicine, Rural Health, Senior Services, Sioux Falls