Northern Wisconsin

Hospital Elder Life Program announced at HYMC

Howard Young Medical Center (HYMC) recently introduced a new program called the Hospital Elder Life Program (HELP). The vision for geriatric care at HYMC is to provide a full-spectrum of care for people over 65 years of age that maintains their health, enhances function, minimizes hospital-associated complications and smooths transitions from hospital to home or other care settings.

The program includes the services of providers, nursing staff and support services, such as physical and occupational therapists, dieticians and pastoral staff, who use specific interventions directed at risk factors for cognitive and functional decline.

“This patient population represents a significant portion of Howard Young Medical Center’s volume,” said Sheila Clough, president, Ministry Howard Young Health Care. “It is crucial that health care organizations begin to develop strategies that will address the unique needs of the geriatric population. At Howard Young Medical Center, we are excited about our efforts to develop a comprehensive geriatric program.”

Becky DeMuth, RN, was recently named the Clinical Nurse Coordinator for HELP. Demuth has served in past positions within Ministry Health Care in the medical / surgical and intensive care units, as hospital supervisor, and most recently in case management at Ministry Eagle River Memorial Hospital.

“In addition to staff, volunteers will truly be a contributing factor in the success of this program,” said HELP Clinical Nurse Coordinator, Becky Demuth, RN. “Illness and hospitalization are stressful for older patients, and we would like to do everything possible to make their hospital stays more comfortable, healing and less taxing. A team of trained volunteers will use specific interventions directed at six risk factors for cognitive and functional decline as well as provide the extra attention, interaction and support to hospitalized patients.”

In 2009, HYMC cared for 1,983 patients over the age of 65, which represented 48 percent of the total patients cared for that year. According to the Wisconsin Hospital Association data for 2007 for central and northern Wisconsin, persons age 65 and older used hospital services 7.7 times more than those between the ages of 5 and 44. “It is crucial that health care organizations begin to develop strategies that will address the unique needs of the geriatric population,” said Sheila Clough, president, Howard Young Medical Center.

“In 2011, the first of the baby boomers will turn 65 years old,” said Clough. “This generation of adults born between 1943 and 1960 represent approximately 76 million Americans. By 2020, it is projected that 1 in 6 Americans will be considered elderly; 6.5 million of those individuals will be over the age of 85.

“Falls, pressure ulcers, adverse drug reactions, delirium and other complications contribute to increased length of stay and higher costs per patient stay for older patients,” said Clough. “The HELP model assists in improving quality of care, and reduces costs, length of stay and readmissions.”

WOC nurses help patients stay healthy, active

Ministry Health Care Wound, Ostomy and Continence nurses Billie Skubal (back) and Natalie DeLeaksy (front) with patient Ken Schwarz.

According to an American Journal of Infection Control article published in 2009, SSIs extended length of stay by 9.7 days and increased costs by $20,842 per admission. According to the 2005 national data used for the study, SSIs diagnosed in the hospital or resulting in readmission added 928,663 inpatient days and cost more than $1.6 billion.

“While surgical site infection rates are very low at Ministry Eagle River Memorial Hospital and Howard Young Medical Center at 0.2 to 0.5 percent annually, we strive to reach zero by following best practice guidelines and prevention strategies,” said Sheila Clough, president, Ministry Howard Young Health Care. Despite preventive measures, there are some patients who have chronic illnesses that make them more susceptible to infections. In these cases, two credentialed Wound, Ostomy and Continence (WOC) nurses provide specialized care to limit the incidence of infections after surgery. “WOC nurses enhance the quality of life for those who are debilitated by chronic and non-healing wounds, ostomy conditions and continence disorders,” said Clough. WOC nurses work with other health care professionals to assess and determine causes for wounds and identify treatment options. They also educate the family, patients and nursing staff about strategies to optimize healing and prevent bedsores and other wounds from developing.

In addition to serving inpatients at both Ministry Eagle River and Howard Young, these nurses serve in the WOC outpatient clinic at Howard Young.

Ken Schwarz visits the wound clinic twice a week. “I am grateful for the services,” said Schwarz. “I would not be able to care for these wounds on my own, so the wound clinic allows me to get the care I need, while still living in my home and staying active.”

“Ken has been coming to Howard Young’s clinic for over 3 years now,” said Billie Skubal, BSN, RN, CWOCN, board certified wound, ostomy and continence nurse with Ministry Howard Young Health Care.

“During our time with Ken, we have been involved in the treatment of his surgical wounds and drainage tubes,” said Skubal.

Schwarz enjoys woodworking, gardening and eating out. “Though I wish I didn’t need to utilize these services, I enjoy seeing the staff every week. They keep me healthy,” said Schwarz.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), two to five percent of patients who have an operation will develop a surgical site infection (SSI).

Lower your risk of infection after surgery
  • List the medications you are taking.
  • Tell the doctor about medication allergies, diabetes and high blood sugar.
  • Don’t shave or let anyone else shave near the surgical site.
  • Ask for blankets if you are cold.
  • Ask about the type and amount of antibiotics you will receive.

*Source: The Institute for Healthcare Improvement

Helen Kuehlman, DO, joins MMG in Rhinelander

Ministry Health Care is pleased to welcome Helen Kuehlman, DO, CPA to the Family Medicine department at the Ministry Medical Group (MMG) clinic located on the Ministry Saint Mary’s Hospital campus at 2251 North Shore Drive in Rhinelander. Dr. Kuehlman specializes in women’s health issues, diabetes, obesity and hypertension.

“I am a strong advocate of preventative medicine, it’s been proven that patients can stay healthier and avoid increased medical costs by routinely following up with their health provider,” stated Dr. Kuehlman. “My goal is to keep my patients healthier by educating and empowering them by developing a road map to a healthier lifestyle.”

“We are delighted Dr. Kuehlman has decided to continue her practice with Ministry Medical Group in Rhinelander,” said Dr. Sookochoff, regional vice president of Ministry Medical Group in northern Wisconsin. “Her strong advocacy of preventative medicine will be paramount with the upcoming changes in health care reform.”

Dr. Kuehlman received her medical degree from Midwestern University (Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine) in Chicago, Illinois. She also has a Bachelors of Business Administration degree from Loyola University of Chicago in public accounting.

Dr. Kuehlman is certified by the American Osteopathic Board of Family Physicians. She is a member of the American Osteopathic Association, the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians, the Illinois Osteopathic Medical Society, and is a trustee for the Illinois chapter of the ACOFP.

“My philosophy of care here is to establish long term-relationships with my patients. I believe in designing a custom-tailored plan for each and every patient,” continued Dr. Kuehlman. “I truly enjoy helping patients feel good about themselves by helping them achieve a proper balance in life by following a few simple guidelines (body, mind, spirit).”

In her spare time, Dr. Kuehlman is an avid outdoor enthusiast. She enjoys cooking, reading and watching football. Dr. Kuehlman also has her pilot’s license and is a certified scuba diver.

To learn more about the services offered in the family medicine department or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kuehlman, please call 715.361.4850.

Ashley Seiler, NP, joins Ministry Medical Group

Ministry Health Care is pleased to welcome Ashley Seiler, Nurse Practitioner (NP) to Family Practice at the Ministry Medical Group (MMG) clinic located at 400 West Glen Street in Crandon and 4876 Mill Street in Laona.

Seiler joins fellow clinicians Rebecca Perry, MD; Richard Brandner, MD, Lee Swank, MD; Janet Dailey, NP, and Amy Franti MSN, APNP.

“I believe in building strong relationships with my patients and their families,” shared Seiler. “I enjoy educating my patients and working together to make decisions regarding their healthcare.”

Seiler graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh College of Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner Program in May, 2010. Most recently she worked at Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital-Ozaukee County in Mequon, Wisconsin. She is a Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner through the American Nurses Credentialing Center. She is a member of the Wisconsin Nurses Association and the Oncology Nursing Society.

“I was born and raised in the Northwoods and am dedicated to helping make sure that people here have access to quality healthcare close to home.” Said Seiler. “I have a strong personal connection to this area and look forward to raising my family here.”

In her spare time, Seiler enjoys being outdoors and spending time with her family and friends.

To schedule an appointment with Ashley Seiler, NP, or another member of the medical team in Crandon or Laona, please call 715.478.3318 in Crandon or 715.674.5233 in Laona.


Saturday, April 30, 8 a.m. – Noon
Ministry Saint Mary’s Hospital
Ministry Medical Group Clinic
2251 North Shore Drive, Rhinelander


Cholesterol*, Diabetes*, PSA Prostate*, Blood Pressure, Breast Health Exam, Memory, Skin Cancer, Balance, Hearing, Throat, Body Mass Index (BMI), Oxygen Saturation and Pulse Oximetry and more!


Medications need to be brought in their original containers, with the patient’s name crossed out to comply with HIPAA requirements. NO CHEMOTHERAPY DRUGS or SHARPS please!

Donations for the Rhinelander Food Pantry and Community Blood Center will be collected.

Appointments are not necessary. For more information, call 715.361.2874.

*There is no need to fast for the cholesterol or diabetes screen. Cholesterol patients must be 18 years and older. PSA Prostate screens are for men 50+ or 40+ years with a family history of prostate cancer. Results from cholesterol and PSA screens will be mailed to participants.

Funding for FREE screenings and medication disposal provided by Saint Mary’s Hospital Foundation.

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