As a population health care manager at Piedmont Clinic, Victoria Latimer has learned to meet patients where they are.
A particular patient was being continually readmitted for congestive heart failure and a multitude of other chronic morbidities. This 65-year-old man also happened to be homeless. Due to a lack of shoes, the patient was battling frostbite on his feet. Upon each return visit, the frostbite was getting worse.
Latimer’s department typically reaches out to patients at the time of discharge. Since this patient was homeless, she wasn’t able to reach him after discharge. So decided to reach out to him the next time he was admitted.
She found the patient frustrated by the hospital staff continuing to offer him resources for assisted living. He told her his desire was to remain homeless, so she asked him what it was she could do to help. The patient said he simply needed clothes and shoes.
Latimer soon put the word out for clothing donations. In less then 24 hours, the members of Latimer’s department gathered items for the patient; everything from sweatshirts to pants and gloves to shoes.
“We delivered it to his room,” Latimer said, “and he was teary eyed. He said, ‘You all actually heard me. You listened.’ He was beside himself.”
That was the last time the hospital staff saw this patient for frostbite.
“Victoria exemplified patient-centered care through her efforts,” said Latimer’s manager, Shirley Burrow. “She actively listened to this patient, identified his immediate need and fulfilled that need selflessly.”
Latimer credits Piedmont for allowing their employees to step outside of the box, forgoing standard measures.
“Patients want an individualized approach to care,” Latimer said, “That’s what they’re looking for.”
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