Personalized Care, a Healing Space Near Home

Vision for the Future co-chair experiences first-hand the importance of quality local care

This article was published in our Fall 2015 Update.

Lincoln ClarkLincoln Clark, Gifford trustee and co-chair of the Vision for the Future campaign, has been actively raising funds for the new Menig Nursing home and the subsequent private patient
room conversion at the hospital.

In an odd twist of fate, the Royalton resident recently experienced first-hand just how important quality local care and private patient rooms can be to both the patient and their family.

While on an annual fishing trip with his son in northern Maine, Clark fell and broke his hip as they were taking their boat to get the motor serviced. After a 178-mile ambulance ride to Portland, ME, he found himself facing surgery by a surgeon he’d never met.

“I spent approximately four minutes with him prior to the operation. I was doped up to the gills, and I couldn’t understand his precise and very technical description of the procedure,” Clark said. “The next day he was off-duty so his partner, a hand surgeon, looked at my wound.”

That same day a care management representative visited to say that he would be released the following morning—they were looking for a rehabilitation facility that could take him.

Clark asked if he could go home to his local hospital, and was told that Medicare would only pay for an ambulance to the closest facility (to pay for an ambulance to Vermont, would cost him thousands of dollars). He was transferred to a facility in Portland the following morning.

“The new room was sectioned off with brown curtains, the bed pushed up against a wall, and there was a 3-foot space at the bottom of the bed for my wife, Louise, to sit,” he said. “It was smaller than most prison cells! My roommate’s family (six of them) was visiting, and they were watching a quiz show on TV at full volume.” This was the low point.

Overwhelmed, the Clarks struggled to figure out the logistics of a long stretch in rehab for Lincoln, and the hours-long commute for Louise, who had to maintain their house in Royalton.

After an unimpressive start in the rehab physical therapy department, they made an unusual but obvious choice: Louise packed Lincoln into the car and they made the 4-hour drive to Randolph.

“I wanted to be at Gifford. I knew the physical therapy team was first rate, and I was confident I would get the kind of therapy I needed to get me out of the hospital,” Clark said.

Fortunately, a room was open and he spent ten days at Gifford this summer. He worked on his laptop in the Auxiliary Garden, met with people in his room, and was even wheeled to the conference center to attend board and committee meetings. Once discharged, he was able to continue his therapy as an outpatient.

“After this experience I really can see how important a private patient room is,” he said. “And I can attest that the letters to the board, the positive comments patients make on surveys, and the occasional letters to the editor don’t begin to describe all that it means to be cared for by Gifford’s staff. This is just a great hospital!”

Wound Care Now Available at All Gifford Clinics

This article appeared in our Spring 2013 Update publication.

wound care available at Gifford clinics

Wound care nurse Jan Giles cares for patient Lisa Sayman of Barre.

With an increase in conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and peripheral artery disease, more and more people are suffering from wounds that don’t heal well.

Gifford podiatrists and general surgery staff already offer help with wound care, but now Gifford is launching a special mobile wound care clinic for the convenience of patients.

Registered nurse Jan Giles is leading the effort. She is specially certified in both wound care and diabetic wound care. Jan is now seeing patients in Gifford’s general surgery office and at all Gifford health centers for the convenience of patients.

Jan’s wound care help includes monitoring wounds, applying dressings, utilizing compression as appropriate, referring patients to a health care provider for additional care, and working with home health care agencies to coordinate proper wound care at home.

“This is what I’ve wanted to do for years,” says Jan. “I think it’s an art and a science, and I really enjoy the challenge of it.”

Diabetic foot ulcers and venous stasis ulcers are the most common chronic wounds. Wounds can also occur following an injury or surgery.

A key to wound healing success is seeking treatment early, Jan notes.

To schedule an appointment with Jan in the wound care clinic, call 728-2777.