For More Information... If you have any questions about Meriter's community initiatives, please contact Meriter Community Relations at (608) 417-5620.
Imagine you joined the military at 18, proudly served 23 years full-time in the Army and National Guard. You always supported yourself, your family and extended a hand to anyone in need. Imagine after retiring, circumstances changed. You became unemployed, were not eligible to receive military benefits and you learned that you had a life threatening medical condition. You had no idea where to turn, how to take on the burden of the illness and find the medical help you needed.
My best friend Steven is the person in this situation. It was too overwhelming. The bills kept coming. During one hospitalization, a Meriter Patient Finance Coordinator came to speak to Steven. She showed genuine compassion and concern for his health. She spoke to me as a caregiver and told me she had been a caregiver and understood the stress we both felt. She explained Meriter's Financial Assistance program and got us started on the paperwork.
Also, thank God Steven found his way to the HEALTH (Helping Educate and Link the Homeless) clinic. The outreach nurse worked diligently to help Steven get appointments that otherwise may have taken weeks or months. This time would have passed while we learned the 'uninsured' world and his prognosis could have been worse.
Even after medical plans were in place the outreach nurse called to see how Steven was doing. Her care and concern for him as a person, not just a patient, showed through every time we talked to her. Because of your amazing help, Steven's medical bills from Meriter have been covered. Although Steven feels guilty and was reluctant to accept help, he is thankful to have one thing – just one thing – not to worry about.
Thank you for this gift. Steven can continue to fight for his life while being cared for by some of the most compassionate and knowledgeable medical staff ever seen at one of the world class medical facilities.
Triangle Nursing Care
"I have a lot of respect for people who face many barriers in life yet make the most of every opportunity," says Joyce Morrison, RN, a Meriter Home Health nurse who helps staff the Triangle Community Outreach Program. The program serves the residents of the Triangle Neighborhood, located across the street from Meriter Hospital. The Neighborhood, given its geometrical name to describe the shape of the community bound by Regent Street, West Washington Avenue and Park Street, is the second largest subsidized housing complex in Wisconsin. Many of the residents suffer from physical disabilities, chronic mental illness and/or addictions.
In the 1970s, Meriter Emergency Room staff noticed that many Triangle Neighborhood residents were visiting the ER for services that could be better treated in a primary care setting. In 1978, Meriter founded the Triangle Community Outreach Program, providing a free walk-in nurses service to more than 300 residents in the neighborhood.
More than 30 years later, the program continues to assist residents navigate the health system, evaluate health needs and help connect them to the most appropriate health care or community resources.
Residents also receive occasional first-aid, diabetic foot care and information on nutrition and hygiene. The program has grown in collaboration with the City of Madison Community Development Authority, Triangle Community Ministry/St. Mary's parish nurses, Housing and Urban Development and the Madison Police Department.
"This is an amazing population and my job is very rewarding," said Morrison. "I am honored to be part of a team that helps residents maintain healthy, independent community living."
Triangle residents rely on the staff to provide care, education and advocacy. The residents consider the Community Outreach staff to be their partners in health care and are grateful for both their clinical expertise and kindness. "I don't know how to thank the program staff for everything they've done," said Triangle Community member, Martha. "We all miss them on the days they are not there. They are amazing."
Services available to Triangle Neighborhood residents include: - Assessment and triage - Assistance setting up appointments or referral toother needed health and social services - Chronic illness monitoring - Education on topics including diet, nutrition, diabetes,high blood pressure and more - First-aid - Loan closet with medical and adaptive equipment - Specialized foot care
Moving Foward With Her Life
Wanda was first admitted to the Meriter Inpatient Psychiatry Unit in 2007. She was in a very deep depression and struggling with suicidal thoughts. She didn't know what else to do. Wanda and her family were very anxious and apprehensive about her being admitted for a mental health issue; no one knew what to expect.
After a comprehensive examination Wanda underwent electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), a procedure in which mild electric currents are passed through the brain, triggering a brief seizure. ECT has been proven to change the brain chemistry in a way that can alleviate symptoms of certain mental illnesses, allowing patients to return fully to their lives. The treatments helped Wanda and she left the hospital feeling much better.
Despite the initial success with ECT, Wanda's depression gradually returned. By 2010, she was profoundly depressed. After a suicide attempt, Wanda returned to Meriter's Adult Inpatient Psychiatry program. "At first I felt ashamed of myself for being there," says Wanda. "The staff reminded me that depression is a serious condition. They assured me that it is not my fault, I can learn to manage it and find happiness again." Wanda was grateful that the staff was so caring and compassionate when she felt so scared and vulnerable.
Since then Wanda has been committed to moving forward with her life. Although she continues to struggle with depression, her thoughts of suicide are gone. She wants to live. The staff at Meriter has helped her better understand depression and gain the confidence needed to speak about her feelings with family and friends. Wanda relies on the staff at Meriter occasionally and is thankful to have somewhere to turn.
“The staff at Meriter Inpatient Psychiatry has pulled me through some really rough times,” says Wanda. “I know where to go and who to call when I’m having trouble managing my depression. They’ve saved my life. What else can I say? I will forever thank them for that.”
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