Helping you age well: Rose Lorentz

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Rose Lorentz, APRN, A-GNP, has been working at Tri-County Health Care for over 40 years. Her career has spanned decades, introducing her to thousands of patients. Each patient is a unique individual that handles aging in their own way. We all age, and Rose believes that the older generation is a foundational pillar of our community, holding years of precious wisdom. Helping them age well is a primary goal of Rose and the rest of the Tri-County team.

“I loved listening to my grandparents and their stories. They have a lot of knowledge to impart to us. I want to make sure they get the care they deserve,” said Rose. Every morning, she does her rounds at Fair Oaks Lodge, addressing various medical problems and facilitating communication between patients and physicians. Rose specializes in wound and ostomy care; a big part of her job is tending to the wounds of elderly patients.

“I was a candy striper at our local nursing home and fell in love with the older residents. That’s when I knew I wanted to make a career out of helping to make their lives better.”

Rose is a primary care provider at Tri-County Health Care helping elderly patients.Dementia

Rose has considerable experience working with patients who have dementia. Patients dealing with memory loss and the slew of medical problems associated with dementia need a heightened level of care.

According to Rose, patients in memory care need to have human contact, not just in the clinical sense. They need to be treated like people. Instead of being left in a room, they need and deserve human touch. She often observes people arguing or treating dementia patients like children. This is incredibly detrimental. People with dementia are still humans. They deserve respect and Rose habitually goes out of her way to respectfully communicate with every patient during a visit.

The end of life

Facing death is an obstacle we will all face. When older adults reach the end of their lives, it stirs emotions not just in them but also in their families. Many times, it’s more difficult for the family to process the incoming loss of a loved one than it is for the patient to pass.

Rose has observed this many times. Rose and medical staff have to do everything they can to provide a comfortable atmosphere for their passing. “Many have no family to sit with them. At that point, you become their family,” explained Rose. She and the nursing home staff are like family to these patients and grieve when they die.

“I feel it is a privilege to be with someone at the end of their life. It is the closest you will get to God here on earth.”

Rose Lorentz, APRN, A-GNP

About Rose Lorentz

Rose Lorentz has been working in the medical field since 1977.  She specializes in wound, diabetic and geriatric care. In her off time, she enjoys quilting and gardening. Helping the elderly is a special passion that she holds very dear.

 

 

 

 


Medicine around the world: Dr. Chessor

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Alfredmy Chessor, M.D., is a family medicine doctor and has been helping patients at Tri-County Health Care since 2018. Since joining the Tri-County team, she has brought a unique brand of care not easily found elsewhere. She has been practicing medicine since 1998 and her devotion to health care has taken her all over the world.

Dr. Chessor has been employed with Tri-County since 2021

Going the distance

Dr. Chessor discovered her passion for medicine after visiting a doctor’s office in high school. The simple task of listening to a person’s heartbeat sparked her interest in the human body and started her path in the medical field.

Born in West Africa and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota, Dr. Chessor attended college at Xavier University in New Orleans and medical school at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. After school, her career began as a pediatrician in Miami, Florida. Her passion for helping children continued during her time with the US Navy, where she served as both a  Pediatrician and General Medical Officer. Her time with the armed forces thrust her into situations a typical doctor may never get the chance to experience, including a tour of duty in Iraq where she was tasked with helping wounded soldiers and marines during the Iraqi War. Then Dr. Chessor made her way back to Minnesota, where she completed her second residency, in Family Medicine, at Hennepin County Medical Center.

Liberia

However, her stay in Minnesota was not permanent. Soon she would make the journey back to Liberia. Dr. Chessor operated a missionary hospital and built her own practice in the capital city of the small West African nation. The practice grew until it was the premier medical clinic in the capital, frequently used by embassy staff and American visitors.

Dr. Chessor is also no stranger to infection control. Dealing with COVID-19 has been difficult for everyone but to her, it was just another challenge. While in Liberia, she assisted in containing the Ebola outbreak. She managed over 100 medical staff members at an Ebola treatment unit in a remote Liberian village. She later left Liberia and returned to Minnesota and joined Tri-County Health Care.

Tri-County strong

For Dr. Chessor, Tri-County Health Care offers a great deal of flexibility and variety. No two days are the same. Every aspect of her medical training is utilized and it goes even further in the team-focused environment. Having medical staff like Dr. Chessor enhances primary care beyond simple clinic appointments. People like her make the care special, with just a little bit of international appeal.

To learn more about Dr. Chessor and the entire team of primary care providers at Tri-County Health Care, click here.

About Dr. Chessor

Dr. Chessor works in family medicine at Tri-County Health Care. She has spent the last 20-plus years of her career helping people all over the globe. Dr. Chessor is married and has four children. In her limited spare time, she enjoys traveling, dancing, reading and exercising.

Dr. Chessor is a Family Medicine provider and got her start in pediatrics.


Caring for children from the very start

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Establishing a primary care provider is beneficial for people of all ages. Providers develop relationships with their patients to aid preventative care and treatment. For many providers, their passion lies in caring for children from the very start.

Dr. Julie Meyer, Julie Meyer M.D., Tri-County Health Care, caring for patients, caring for children, obstetrics, pregnancy, pregnant, birth, delivery, doctor, Wadena

The importance of prenatal care

For Julie Meyer, M.D., caring for expecting mothers and their children was her passion and the reason for pursuing a career in medicine. She has been practicing family medicine and delivering babies for 20 years. Having an extensive background in obstetrics has allowed her to provide expert care for her patients throughout their entire pregnancy.

Dr. Meyer works with her patients as early as possible. That often means before they conceive. She discussed the importance of taking prenatal vitamins and having a conversation about things to avoid while attempting to get pregnant. “We want the baby to have the safest environment possible,” said Dr. Meyer.

That care continues after conception to make sure there are no complications during pregnancy. This care includes:

  • Watching for signs of gestational diabetes
  • Monitoring weight gain
  • Observing blood pressure to prevent preeclampsia or other metabolic problems

For Dr. Meyer, it’s important to develop a special bond with the mother. She takes pride in being a support system for the family as they embark on their pregnancy journey.

“One of my favorite parts of prenatal care is developing that special relationship and bond with the mother,” Dr. Meyer said. “Once the baby comes, there will be a lot of questions. I want them to be comfortable with me so they can call me and get their questions answered. No question is a stupid question when it comes to pregnancy or a newborn baby.”

At Tri-County Health Care, primary care providers plan to be there for their obstetric patients through every milestone. These include the planning stage, pregnancy, delivery, postnatal care, and beyond. When it’s time to deliver the baby, Dr. Meyer jumps into action. She puts a high value in being there for every moment. It’s very rare for her to miss a delivery.

The importance of well-child visits

One part of caring for newborns and children is monitoring their progress as they grow up. There are certain milestones providers are looking for to make sure proper development is occurring. The first year is detailed and frequent. There are 5 key milestones over the baby’s first 12 months.

“We want to make sure these babies are developing their muscles and coordination,” Dr. Meyer said. “We look to make sure they’re meeting their milestones like rolling over, sitting up, crawling and pulling to a stand along furniture. Then, ultimately walking, running, climbing and driving parents crazy because they’re so busy!”

Providers then monitor fine motor development. It involves making sure their coordination is working with their fingers so they can grasp food and feed themselves. Eating their food is followed by holding a pencil or crayon. Additionally, they focus on the child’s speech to make sure they’re starting to babble, make noises and ultimately begin talking.

Pre-teen and teen development milestones

The initial years of a child’s life involves several meetings with a provider to monitor growth. While appointments typically become less frequent as the child grows older, they are still essential. Part of ongoing well-child exams includes making sure the child is up to date on immunizations. It is also a good time to discuss with families if there are any other concerns.

These appointments also look for any developmental delay issues. It’s important to diagnose these problems early so those children can function better at school and more easily with adult life.

Dr. Meyer also monitors the child’s growth to determine if they are falling behind. That includes caring for children by checking their height and weight. It is a good indicator of any red flags like growth hormone deficiencies. Checking height and weight at these well-child exams can help prevent things like diabetes or pre-diabetes in their pre-teen and teenage years.

In addition to monitoring their progress, it’s exciting to develop relationships with these families. One thing Dr. Meyer enjoys is seeing children out in the community.

“It’s fun to watch them at sports activities and see them become leaders in the community,” she said. “It’s gratifying when I’m at the county fair or in the grocery store and have these kids come up and greet me.”

Primary Care at Tri-County Health Care

Dr. Meyer joined the team of primary care providers at Tri-County Health Care in January of 2020. She was named a Top-5 Finalist for the 2020 Family Physician of the Year by the Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians. To learn more about Dr. Meyer and the primary care team at Tri-County Health Care, view their videos at TCHC.org/primarycare.

Dr. Julie Meyer, Julie Meyer M.D., Tri-County Health Care, caring for patients, caring for children, obstetrics, pregnancy, pregnant, birth, delivery, doctor, WadenaAbout Dr. Meyer:

Julie Meyer, M.D. graduated from Perham High School and completed medical school at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Meyer has always been interested in biology and even strongly considered veterinary medicine because of her love for animals. She ultimately chose family medicine because she enjoys talking to her patients and developing a strong connection. This is important to providing high-quality patient care.

Dr. Meyer and her husband, Mark, have three sons and live on a hobby farm with 40 rabbits, 15 sheep, 3 cats, and 2 dogs. The farm helps fulfill her passion of caring for animals. She enjoys volunteering in 4-H and helping her youngest son compete at various rabbit shows around the state. Other interests include singing in the church choir, accompanying various groups on the piano and flute, playing volleyball, working in her flower gardens, and traveling to state parks.


Advanced practice providers: a vital part of patient care

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Advanced practice provider, or APP, is a comprehensive term for physician assistants, nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and certified nurse anesthetists.

APP - Alison MeyerPhysician assistants function in many capacities, whether as a family practice provider, specialist or assisting physicians.

Nurse practitioners have roles similar to physician assistants. The main difference is in education and training. Nurse practitioners typically have a nursing background, while physician assistants have a traditional medical background.

An anesthetist’s primary function is to provide anesthesia in a surgical setting, while midwives offer services in obstetrics.

In Tri-County Health Care’s system, they are a critical part of providing access to health care for patients.

 

Wearing different hats

At Tri-County’s five rural clinics – Bertha, Henning, Ottertail, Sebeka and Verndale – an APP’s main role is to provide primary care from birth to death, from acute to chronic illnesses.APP - Jill Wilkens

“It’s very similar to what physicians do,” said Alison Meyer, certified nurse practitioner at Bertha Clinic. “Our main focus is doing what’s best for the patient and figuring out how to optimize their quality of life.”

In contrast, Wadena clinic’s APPs aren’t primary providers but rather contribute to a health care team called a pod. These pods include physicians and an APP. If patients are unable to schedule an appointment with their doctor, they can opt to see an APP. As a result, all information and updates on those patients are shared between the physician-APP team.

“I help to maintain a continuity of care,” said Physician Assistant Jill Wilkens, who works in a pod with three doctors. “The patients know and accept me as one of their providers, and if they can’t see their doctor, they want to see me.”

APPs also see walk-in patients in ReadyCare, as well as concentrate on a variety of specialties.

“We’re fortunate that our APPs come from various areas of focus,” said Judy White, vice president of patient care. “They have backgrounds in neurology, pain management, wound care, cardiology, behavioral health, surgery, APP - Norman Hillukkaobstetrics, respiratory therapy and more.”

 

A patient’s point of view

Menahga resident Norman Hillukka first encountered his APP when he planned to make an appointment with his physician, Heidi Olson, and found that her schedule was full.

Hillukka wasn’t even sure what an APP was when he made the appointment.

“I was a little apprehensive,” he admitted, “but to my surprise, I was truly satisfied. I got everything I needed and I appreciate that if I have a specific problem, I get lots of time and attention from my physician assistant.”

Melissa Morrow of Wadena stresses that it was because of Tina Hulse, certified physician assistant, that she’s here today.

Afflicted by Ehler’s Danlos, a disease that affects connective tissue, Morrow suffered from extreme pain following a hysterectomy on June 20.

Morrow’s husband brought her to the hospital, where Hulse immediately cleared an opening. Hulse discovered that Morrow had bladder retention. Essentially, her bladder had stopped working, urine was building up and her kidneys were shutting down. Hulse removed 2.5 liters of urine from Morrow’s body. Her kidney function returned to normal in less than 24 hours.

“She saved my life,” Morrow said. “She’s amazing.”APP - Tina Hulse

Morrow, who has also received care from other APPs at Tri-County, feels strongly that their role is essential.

“They’re a vital necessity to the medical care that we have nowadays because of the fact that doctors are so hard to get into,” she said. “It’s good to know that there are those medical professionals out there that can do just as much for you as an actual doctor or a specialist.”

Ultimately, the role of an APP comes down to building relationships and reassuring patients that they are in expert hands.

“I think people like to know who they’re seeing and have a connection with them, and we certainly do,” Wilkens said. “We’re very qualified, and we love taking care of you.”