For people who live in rural areas, getting to the doctor can be a challenge…especially for heart and stroke patients recently released from the hospital. But patients who travel to The University of Kansas Hospital from rural areas have a new way to get the vital follow-up care they need…right in their own home.
It’s called the CareCar, and nurse practitioners use the specially-equipped van to drive an average of 90 miles each way to visit patients in those first two critical weeks after discharge. While there, they assess the recovery, answer questions, help with medication, and help with any environmental challenges in the home. They also send reports to the patient’s provider, all in an effort to speed recovery and avoid hospital readmission.
The CareCar is part of the Transitional Care Management program of the Kansas Heart and Stroke Collaborative, based at The University of Kansas Hospital. Patients who receive their care there, or at any Heart and Stroke Collaborative-member hospital, are eligible for the visits. So far the CareCar has visited patients in small western and central Kansas communities such as St. Francis, Great Bend, Norton and Wakeeney.
In the video, Dr. Bob Moser, executive director of the Kansas Heart and Stroke Collaborative, talks about the CareCar’s benefit to rural communities, how it works, how it’s the first of its kind in the region and how it’s hoped the program will expand to other states. Sara Pfannenstiel is a nurse practitioner who sees patients in the CareCar. She describes what she does, how it helps patients, why it’s important the massive territory covered and what’s inside the CareCar. Jessica Pfeifer is the other nurse practitioner who travels to see patients in the vehicle. She describes some of the features of the CareCar, such as onboard Wi-Fi to help access medical records, navigation to help find homes in remote areas, and how it’s a full clinical office on wheels with all of the medical supplies on board.
Fern Mattheyer lives in Wakeeney, Kansas. The video includes nurse practitioner Jessica Pfeifer making a visit to her home, and Fern describing her experience with the CareCar program. She says it made a big difference, as a complication after her procedure was caught early and treated immediately, which would not have been possible without the CareCar.
Lenore Goetz lives in Hays, and received a visit from Sara Pfannenstiel, the other nurse practitioner. The video shows that visit, and includes an interview with Lenore who says the CareCar is a real help to her because she doesn’t drive anymore.
Bryndalyn Query lives in Topeka, but her in-laws live 300 miles away in Colby. She describes how her mother-in-law had a brain bleed and had to be taken to Denver for treatment. She explains the how the CareCar visits were a huge comfort and gave her real peace of mind knowing the vital follow-up care was being given in her mother-in-law’s home.