Eastern Wisconsin

Health News from Eastern Wisconsin

Ministry leads community wellness initiatives
Fatigue is not normal
Everything you need when you need it most


Ministry leads community wellness initiatives

Health care is changing, and fast.

Ministry Door County Medical Center in Sturgeon Bay is working to address changes brought on by several factors, including the advent of the Affordable Care Act, more patients with high-deductible insurance and the growing realization that our country spends a great deal of resources managing chronic disease.

One answer to all of these three challenges is a focus on wellness.

"We have a newfound and very strong commitment to community-wide wellness,” said Matt Luders of Ministry Health Care. "We realize that we need to use more resources to keep people well and help prevent the onset of chronic disease."

Ministry has launched several new initiatives to help meet this goal, including working with local work forces, schoolchildren and their own employees.

Wellness programs are "Keeping it Real" in schools

In 2012, Ministry Health Care partnered with the YMCA and Sturgeon Bay Schools to create the "Keeping It Real" program. The program provides nutrition education and physical activity to help school staff lose weight, improve key health indicators such as blood pressure and cholesterol and develop long-term plans to maintain healthy habits.

The program has now expanded to serve all five school districts in Door County. Kim Gordon, a Southern Door school district employee who is the head of the school’s Wellness Committee, helped coordinate the program at her school.

"Across the board, participants lowered their cholesterol and weight numbers," said Gordon. "At the end of 12 weeks, every single person in the program noticed that they were much stronger."

"Keeping It Real" has been so successful that Ministry Health Care is planning to tailor the program and offer it to the business community.

Ministry Health Care’s efforts also include providing support to school districts as they revamp their menus to align with new, stricter nutritional standards. Their partnership with Algoma Schools has helped the small district adapt to the new requirements and begin providing better food choices for students.

"It’s really hard for small schools like ours, who have no dietician on staff, to deal with the new rules," said Gail Haack, business manager at Algoma Schools who also serves as food service director. "Ministry has been absolutely wonderful to us, sending in a dietician to help us revamp our menu and work with our cooks."

"We realized that although schools are providing healthier options, kids are not always eating their fruits and vegetables," said Gina Newton, the Ministry dietician who helped the Algoma school district. So, in the month of March, Ministry paid to have one parent from every Door County family accompany his or her child to eat lunch at school.

Good nutrition really has to start with parents," says Newton. In addition to the "take a parent to lunch" project, Ministry Health Care is planning some creative incentive programs to encourage kids to eat their fruits and veggies.

Wellness is proactive

Ministry Health Care also supports schools by providing onsite nursing and physical therapy services in schools. Southern Door’s new school nurse was brought in through Ministry Health Care, who also provided funds to help build a hiking trail around the school forest, and supported the development of concussion management (Sports Tips) and strength and conditioning programs for student athletes.

Southern Door Superintendent Patti Vickman is enthusiastic about Ministry Health Care’s contribution to her community. "Beyond providing therapy and other services over the years, Ministry Door County Medical Center has provided many programs and sponsorships, including dental care for families in need, support for the Southern Door Family Center, an auditorium program sponsorship and much more," Vickman said.

"When the district needed support for new football helmets to keep our students safe or someone to provide energy to new ideas from the district’s Partners in Health committee, Ministry was right at the table - engaged, involved and inspiring us to dream more."

Wellness works at Ministry

Ministry Health Care puts their belief in wellness at the forefront with their own employees. In addition to on-site exercise classes, smoking cessation classes and flu vaccines, Ministry Health Care’s own wellness initiative means that they subsidize employee membership to the local YMCA.

In turn, the YMCA matches those funds. "We believe it’s important to invest in the wellness of our own employees, but we also hold people accountable, requiring that they use the YMCA at least eight times a month to receive the benefit," said Luders.

The world of health care will continue to change and evolve, but Ministry Door County Medical Center is staying ahead of the game, one healthier person at a time.


Fatigue is not normal

During overnight diagnostic
sessions, patients sleep in a quiet
suite complete with a whirlpool,
bathroom,wi-fi access and breakfast.
Ministry Door County Medical Center’s Sleep Facility can mean quality sleep for a better life.

If you have trouble sleeping at night, you’re not alone.

Up to 15 percent of Americans have a chronic sleep disorder, and many more don’t get the recommended amount of sleep each night.

Ministry Door County Medical Center’s Sleep Facility offers the support, information and treatment that patients need for a better quality of life.

Studies show that quality sleep is linked to better immunity, more physical and mental energy, an increased ability to learn and retain information and many more positive outcomes.

During National Sleep Awareness Week, the facility’s staff is on a mission to educate the community about the importance of sleep.

"Sleeping well is the key to living well," said Nancy Ruff, supervisor of the Sleep Facility. "Our goal is to reduce or eliminate sleep problems to improve a person’s health and quality of life."

The nationally accredited facility, which is located in a tranquil corner of Ministry’s Sturgeon Bay campus, offers several different options for diagnosis and treatment. Patients may qualify for an overnight diagnostic session, where they will sleep in a quiet suite with a whirlpool, a comfortable bed, a private bathroom, wi-fi access and complimentary breakfast.

Patients may also qualify for an at-home sleep test.

"We are the only accredited facility in the area that offers this at-home test, which is very accurate and qualifies patients to go straight into treatment," said Ruff.

There are many factors that affect sleep, including: diet, physical activity, alcohol use, medication, anxiety and even sharing a bed with children or pets. Providers take all of these factors into account, as well as using the latest technology to monitor heart rate, breathing patterns, brainwave activity and other key indicators.

The sleep evaluation procedures are safe and totally non-invasive.

Richard Hogan, MD, and Andrzej Kurek, MD, are providers at the sleep facility who meet personally with each patient the morning after testing to explain results and treatment options.

The most common diagnosis for patients with sleep disorders is sleep apnea; though sleep lab staff also see patients with insomnia, restless leg syndrome and other problems. "Sleep apnea is the cessation of breathing for periods during the night," explained Ruff. "It’s a serious condition that is linked to stroke, hypertension and type 2 diabetes."

Symptoms of sleep apnea include snoring at night and sleepiness during the day.

The most common treatment for sleep apnea is a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine. Ruff reported that patients who choose this therapy are often elated with the results. "I hear comments like, 'You saved my life.' 'My wife is so happy, because she’s sleeping better, too!'" said Ruff.

People should not be satisfied with sleep that is fraught with problems. "Sometimes patients, especially older adults, think that this kind of fatigue is normal, but it’s not," said Ruff. "And we can help."

Sleep problems also cause a cumulative lack of oxygen to the brain, which often results in decreased reaction time, a real concern when drowsy drivers are behind the wheel.

Ministry Door County Medical Center’s Sleep Lab also offers free screenings to the community. Screenings indicate a patient’s risk for a sleep disorder; individuals can self-refer for this service.

To schedule a free screening, sleep evaluation, or to get more information, call Ministry Door County Medical Center’s Sleep Facility at 920.746.3570.

Other links that go with the article:

Prepare for your Sleep Study


Everything you need when you need it most.

Urgent Care – Now Open to Serve You

When you have teenagers in sports, anything can happen – just ask the Seilers. From torn ligaments to dislocated knees, Pam has trusted the high quality care at Ministry Door County Medical Center to not only heal her children’s injuries, but also get them back to the activities they love.

It’s for families like Pam’s that we opened our new Urgent Care center. Just seconds away from the ER, our full-service clinic can treat people with a variety of conditions, from bacterial and viral infections to the flu.

We know you can’t control getting sick or injured; that’s why we’re open when it’s convenient for you – weeknights, weekends and holidays.

Urgent Care Hours

7 a.m. – 7 p.m. weekdays
8 a.m. – 4 p.m. weekends



Ministry's Latest Social Activities
Facebook Twitter