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Medical Help In Your Own Home

December 22, 2011, 6:08 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

Medical Help In Your Own Home
SIOUX FALLS, SD - Most of us think of going to a hospital or clinic for medical care. But a new program brings health care workers into your own home.

Cardiac Connections has expanded to Sioux Falls and is keeping heart failure patients out of the hospital.

Howie Siemonsma has worked most of his life on a farm near Chester. Now a former farmer, he's a quick wit with a hard-working attitude. But he may be a little stubborn in some areas.

"He has to be really sick before he'll go to a doctor," Howie's wife Magdalen Siemonsna said.

"I'd say I'm getting along; I'm getting my work done. I don't have to do something," Howie said.

But faced with congestive heart failure, Howie didn't have a lot of options. That's why he's thankful for Cardiac Connections.

"We bring services to wherever the patient calls home. That may be in a private home, assisted living, nursing home facility," Cardiac Connections Nurse Practitioner Shawn Myhre said.

One of the biggest benefits of the program is that the patient can stay at their home and the nurse comes to them at any time of the day.

"Frequently these patients have cycles of emergency room visits, recurrent hospital admissions," Myhre said.

Nurses aim to keep patients out of that cycle by monitoring them on a regular basis and recognizing signs of cardiac troubles.

"We're right on top of the patient's problems, so they're not getting into crisis. They're not having to go to the emergency room. They're not having to be re-admitted," Myhre said.

They can also help the patients by cooking and cleaning-tasks that are often difficult for heart failure patients and their families.

"It seemed like a load was lifted off; so much more relaxed and carefree," Myhre said.

A carefree environment, where the Siemonsnas can still enjoy moments in their own home, such as a stop from carolers, with the help of nurses.

"Good friends, really good," Howie said.

"We never had that 'if something was going to happen, what would we do' feeling. But they're just like family," Magdalen said.

Cardiac Connections is run by Compassionate Care Hospice. In addition to starting a program in Sioux Falls, they're also working on opening an office in Worthington, Minnesota.

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