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“At the time, I felt there was no coming back from it. I felt like I was dying,” Dupree Welcome, UnityPoint Health patient, says.
UnityPoint Health nurse, Gina Jones, met Dupree Welcome around 2014, which is when their close relationship began.
“There were some really dark days. It makes you cry sometimes you know you just really get those relationships with people because you’re just one-on-one,” Jones says.
She noticed he was really down and depressed. Jones was just one of the many people enlisted to get Welcome’s health back on track.
“He was very unhealthy, did not have health goals. He was suffering from Peripheral vascular disease in his legs to the point where they were constantly causing him pain,” Brett Josie, PA-C says. “Unfortunately, he lost both his legs due to the illness.”
Welcome’s care team knew his complex health conditions required regular communication and management.
The goal of care management is to help patients manage their own chronic diseases by empowering them to know where to go and what to do. For Welcome, that meant working on medication management, taking the right pills at the right time of day, and spending time on disease education, so he knew when to call the doctor’s office and when to go to the emergency room.
The care team also connected Welcome with telehealth technology to monitor his daily blood pressure, heart and oxygen levels from home.
“If it weren’t for the nurses and the doctors, I don’t know what would have really happened to me. But, everything that’s wrong with me is not so wrong with me anymore,” Welcome says.
“When he came here and started his care, his demeanor changed a lot more. He wasn’t as depressed and downhearted. Now, he seems to feel like life is much better,” Josie says.
One additional task the care team took on was getting Welcome a power wheelchair when they learned he had fallen and flipped backward several times from his previous chair.
“I fought for a wheelchair, couldn’t get it. They stepped in and did they make a difference -- like night and day. It weren’t for them, I probably wouldn’t be here. They go out of their way to make sure I’m alright, honestly they do. I couldn’t have a better team,” Welcome says.
Welcome began in the care management program in September 2016. In the year prior, he had 21 visits to the emergency room and three hospitalizations. With the new treatment plan, it’s decreased to five ER visits and one hospitalization.
“I got into the health care business because I wanted to help people. I wanted to really make an influence in their life, and this is just another thing I can do,” Josie says.
“Before, I felt like there was no tomorrow. Actually, I told Dr. Brett several times I don’t care if the sun doesn’t come up tomorrow because that’s how I was feeling. But today, I don’t even want the sun to go down. I want it to stay up,” Welcome says.