Accessibility Tools

Making healthcare decisions for yourself or someone who is no longer able to do so can be overwhelming. That's why it's important to get a clear idea about preferences and arrangements while you can make decisions and participate in legal and financial planning together.
Use this checklist to ensure healthcare and financial arrangements are in place before serious illness or a healthcare crisis.

  • Start discussions early with your loved one while everyone can still help make decisions.
  • Create documents that communicate healthcare, financial management, and end-of-life wishes for yourself and the people you care for, with legal advice as needed.
  • Review plans regularly and update documents as circumstances change.
  • Put important papers in one place. Make sure a trusted family member or friend knows the location and any instructions.
  • Make copies of healthcare directives to be placed in all medical files, including information on every doctor seen.
  • Give permission in advance for a doctor or lawyer to talk directly with a caregiver as needed.
  • Reduce anxiety about funeral and burial arrangements by planning ahead.

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Kieri Olmstead, MS, LMFT

January can be a time of new beginnings and resolutions. It can also be a time of bitter cold down to your bones that doesn't seem as much to do with the temperature outside as it does the mood in your mind. 
The first three months of the year are frequently referred to as "crisis season" in therapist forums and group discussions. We are all too familiar with the heaviness that comes after the holidays. This year is no different and actually can be all that much more heavy because of Covid-19, politics and social upheaval. 
If you're finding yourself struggling a bit more this year know that you are not alone. With the pandemic wreaking havoc the majority of 2020, our population has seen an increase in depression rates, anxiety and divorce. As we begin to approach the one year mark of Covid-19 we have small signs of hope with the vaccine and we are growing weary. Finding ways to re-regulate your nervous system and do some deep self care are going to be the best ways to cope. Remind yourself that we are playing a long game here and the best thing to do is focus on what you can control and not on the things that you can't. 
So, here are some tips to help you regulate:

Kieri L. Olmstead, MS

It is that time of year again when your favorite radio station has been hijacked and the stores are bursting with red and green glitter. There are big fat men with beards and red suits all over the place and everyone seems to be in a frenzy of shopping, party planning and traveling. This time of year brings so much joy for a lot of people around the world. This is also the time of year that I start to come to work in comfy clothes, I settle into my chair and steel my heart for the outpouring of tears, pain, loneliness and heartache that will walk into my office.

You see, this time of year, for many, doesn’t mean warm holiday get-togethers with the family, presents under a brightly lit tree or a basket of freshly baked goodies by the menorah. This time of year, quite frequently, means cold, lonely living rooms, less food in the cupboard, painful memories, uncomfortable get-togethers with people who are supposed to be family but are abusers or harmful people in their lives. This time of year means less sunlight, which also means vitamin deficiencies that lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), it means increased risk of the flu, pneumonia, and bronchitis. It means more bills and less income. Quite frankly, this time of year, for so many, equals STRESS.

The Importance of Medication Reconciliation and Continuity of Care

What is medication reconciliation, you may ask? It is the process of reviewing and creating the most accurate list of a patient’s medications, especially when a patient transitions between health care settings i.e. primary care, hospital settings, long term care facilities; and/or is being seen by other health care providers.

Why is this so important? Research has shown that 25% of medication errors are related to lack of medication reconciliation. A standardized method to prevent these errors and adverse events and prevents patient harm is encouraged.

How can you help your provider to ensure safe, effective oversight in your health care?

  • Keep an up-to-date list of all prescribed medications that includes the drug name, dosage, frequency, and route.
  • Also include over-the-counter medications as well as any herbal products and/or vitamins. This would include products such as ibuprofen, stool softeners, vitamin C, etc.
  • Be sure to inform your primary care provider of any additional providers who assist in managing your health care needs. Examples include if you are seeing a cardiologist, ENT (ear/nose/throat specialist), neurologist, etc.
  • Include any consultants, mental health professionals and/or any alternative medicine.
  • Lastly, include a list of pharmacies if using more than one.

The goal is to improve patient safety, that is YOUR safety and provide best care outcomes.

If you have any medication questions, we are happy to help answer them.

by Dr. Daniel Roney

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, but it is hard to imagine that there are very many who are not aware of it. Almost everyone has either direct experience with breast cancer, or somebody close to them has been affected. Over the course of their lives, one out of every eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Those who have either a mother or sister with breast cancer are at even higher risk.

Now for the good news. Improvements are being made in the available treatments for breast cancer. As a result, survival rates give us reason for optimism. The chances of surviving 5 years after diagnosis of invasive breast cancer is 90%. The average 10-year survival is 83%. If the cancer is confined to the breast, 5-year survival is 99%.

Heather Lembke RNNorthland Family Care is excited to welcome Heather Lembke, RN, MSN, FNP-C to our team of providers! Heather grew up in Plattsburg, Missouri and has settled in the Kansas City North area. She began her career as a registered nurse in 2001 at Truman Medical Center in the emergency department. She left Kansas City in 2004 to explore travel nursing and has worked in many outstanding institutions such as Massachusetts General Hospital and The University of California-San Diego. She returned home in 2007 and worked in the ER at St. Luke’s Northland before completing her graduate degree.

Heather graduated from Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences in 2019 with a Master of Science in Nursing-Family Nurse Practitioner and is board certified. She is a Certified Emergency Nurse and a member of both the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and the Association of Missouri Nurse Practitioners. Heather enjoys caring for individuals in all stages of life and likes getting to know her patients on a personal level. She believes this relationship helps develop the best individual plan of care for her patients.

In her spare time Heather enjoys being with her friends and family. Her three children, Saylor, Stella, and Jack are active in cheerleading, softball and football. She enjoys cheering them on all year long and traveling to new destinations whenever possible.

You may have seen notices in our office informing you about our participation in a program called Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC Plus). We thought it would be good to explain this program and what impact this has on you as one of our patients.

The medical industry is undergoing changes in reimbursement to provide improved quality of care while controlling cost. For many years, the model for paying health care providers was fee-for-service, where the provider was paid when the patient was seen. While there is still an element of this, there is a shift toward what is referred to as value-based reimbursement. Under this model, providers are reimbursed on the quality of care that is provided. This measures quality parameters such as how well our diabetic patients are controlled, how many of our patients have gotten colon cancer screening or mammograms, and how well we do at keeping our patients out of the hospital, just to name a few.

Many recent studies suggest that 15-20% of all health outcomes are directly related to a person’s social situation.  Another study suggests that up to 60% of people experience some impact on their health based on their social situation.  The health care industry refers to these social factors as Social Determinants of Health. 
So, what exactly is a social determinant of health?  These are factors not directly related to your health that can nevertheless have an impact on a person’s health.  They include housing issues, transportation, finances, and other factors that can impact a person’s ability to access basic medical needs. For example, someone with transportation issues may have difficulty getting to doctor appointments, testing, or they may have trouble getting to the pharmacy to fill prescriptions in a timely manner.  It’s easy to see how lapses in medication can have an adverse effect on one’s health.  Financial hardship can make accessing even the most basic needs difficult, not only medications, but basic needs such as food, adequate clothing and adequate shelter.