Three times a week Nancy Johnson heads to the rehab gym at Riverside Medical Center (RMC) to build her stamina and strengthen her heart.
Johnson, 78, who is recovering from a heart attack she suffered in the summer of 2009, has come to look forward to her visits to the gym, where she is greeted by caring staff and newfound friends.
The experience just got better. RMC recently opened its new health and wellness department, featuring a large, new rehab gym, plus the merger of several patient services.
The revamped department combines the hospital’s diabetes education and community programs with its cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation programs. The department now occupies 2,700 square feet of remodeled clinic space on the first floor of RMC’s 900 Building.
The rationale behind the expanded department was to offer more integrated and convenient care for patients, said Registered Nurse Marci Reynolds, who manages the department.
“Our goal was to connect the dots between chronic diseases and collaborate for the sake of the patients,” Reynolds said. “Many of the chronic diseases include similar treatments and services, and this brings all of our staff together so they can collaborate and better support patients.”
The new space features a reception area and waiting lounge, a private intake area, two new classrooms, a patient consultation room, office space for staff and the state-of-the-art rehab gym.
Beyond the expanded space, the new department also has expanded programs.
“Now that we have the space, we can launch new education programs,” Reynolds said.
With new classrooms and coordinated staff, the merged department will offer short, 20-minute classes on more than two dozen topics.
“Everything I need is in one spot now,” said Johnson, who no longer has to visit multiple offices to receive her various cardiac rehab services. “It’s so much more convenient.”
Johnson is looking forward to the new classes, as she works to improve her diet in pursuit of a heart-healthy lifestyle.
“I wanted more in-depth information about nutrition and cholesterol, and a deeper understanding of the medications I’m taking,” Johnson said. “And now they are making those improvements by offering more classes.”
Ultimately, the new space, education programs and coordinated staff will result in better outcomes for patients, said Dr. Ellen Wenberg, of ThedaCare Physicians-Waupaca.
“The goal of the staff is to provide excellent chronic care of cardiac, pulmonary and diabetic conditions,” said Wenberg, RMC’s medical director for diabetes education. “I believe they are going to be able to achieve more for patients.”