Eastern Minnesota

Improving care for patients with diabetes

Today, diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death in Minnesota. One in three Minnesotans has diabetes or is at high risk for the disease, and every year 20,000 Minnesotans are newly diagnosed. The economic burden is equally disturbing. The disease currently costs Minnesota $2.7 billion each year. (Source: Minnesota Department of Health)

Diabetes is a chronic health condition that robs millions of people of their quality of life,” said Terese Hemmingsen, RN, certified diabetes educator for Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center and student at Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. “Our goal is to standardize our systems for managing this chronic disease. By creating a clinical team approach and a comprehensive education and discharge planning process, in-patients with diabetes can receive guidance and resources that will help them better manage their disease and improve their overall health and well being.”

In an effort to impact these trends within the Wabasha area, Saint Elizabeth’s is helping patients better manage their diabetes to minimize complications, improve quality of life, and reduce health care costs. It is the goal of a new quality improvement initiative that is gaining momentum. Its objectives are to create a consistent process for identifying inpatients that have diabetes, developing a treatment plan for managing their insulin levels while in the hospital, providing diabetes education, and coordinating appropriate referrals and follow-up.

Serving as project coordinator Hemmingsen developed the project proposal as part of her graduation requirements in the nursing practice doctorate program in hopes of piloting it within the hospital.

“I presented the concept to administration, and they saw an opportunity to improve systems for managing chronic diseases,” explained Hemmingsen. Saint Elizabeth’s administration saw an opportunity to improve the systems for managing chronic diseases for patients.

“This project has elevated our ability to support patients with diabetes,” explained Joni Lommen, vice president of clinical services. “While they are hospitalized, we can bring our resources to them and make sure they are connected to additional help and support before they leave.”

Partnering with Saint Elizabeth’s nursing and medical staffs and the director of quality and safety, Hemmingsen is incorporating diabetes management best practices established by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists into the care provided during a patient’s hospital stay.

According to Hemmingsen, the nursing staff is beginning to trial an admission module that asks specific questions of in-patients with diabetes. The answers to these questions will then prompt action steps taken by nurses, providers, dietitians, diabetes educators, pharmacists, and other clinicians. Once the pilot and data collection phases of the project, are completed, the project team will begin educating patients while they are hospitalized.

Members of the team will provide teaching and resources targeting nutrition and diet, medications, insulin meter use, and sick day management. In addition, a coordinated discharge planning process will be developed that schedules patients for follow up with their provider and/or outpatient diabetes education. This “pathway” will eventually become automated and part of a patient’s plan of care.

This project will not only strengthen the diabetes care Saint Elizabeth’s provides to its inpatients, it also has the potential to be replicated in other small rural hospitals as a successful quality improvement model.

“I have been helping outpatients with diabetes for a long time,” Hemmingsen said. “There is a great need to guide patients who are struggling to manage their disease. I am thankful that Saint Elizabeth’s has collaborated with me to study and enhance the care and services we provide to hospitalized patients. It’s been a great team effort that has the potential to positively impact the lives of many chronically ill patients.”


Saint Elizabeth’s team of nurses work together to improve diabetes care for hospitalized patients. Team members from left are: Kathy Lueders, Terese Hemmingsen, Joan Willers, Kim Hartmann, and Linda Schmidt.


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Childbirth education classes help families prepare

Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center, together with our providers and partners, offers support and education to help parents and families prepare for their new arrivals. Parent and sibling education programs help families create a nurturing, fulfilling and secure environment for their children.

The following classes are designed to provide you with valuable information, resources, education, and support to assist you before, during, and after your delivery.

Childbirth education series – a two-part series – Fee $20 per couple

  • Tuesdays, March 6 & 13 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
  • Tuesdays, May 8 & 15 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
  • Tuesdays, July 10 & 17 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
  • Tuesdays, September 11 & 18 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
  • Tuesdays, November 6 & 13 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

The class will cover:

  • Anatomy of the pregnant woman
  • Overview of labor
  • The stages of labor
  • Labor variations
  • Comfort measures during labor
  • How to time contractions
  • Breathing techniques
  • C-Section/VBAC
  • Medication options
  • Childbirth choice/birthing center tour
  • Postpartum care
  • Characteristics of the newborn

Benefits of breastfeeding – Fee:$10 per family

  • Tuesday, January 10 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, March6 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, May 8 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, July 10 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, September 11 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, November 6 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

The class will cover:

  • Breastfeeding benefits for mom and baby
  • How breastfeeding works
  • Feeding patterns of breastfeeding babies
  • Hunger cues
  • Breastfeeding discretely in public

Sibling class – $5 per participant/couple

Children and parents are encouraged to bring a stuffed animal for diaper practice and a picture of you for your new baby’s first birthday card. The sibling class is recommended for children 3 to 8 years old.

  • Tuesday, January 17 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, April 17 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, July 17 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, October 16 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

All classes are held at Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center. To register for Life Connections programs, call Saint Elizabeth’s, 651.565.4531, and ask for the OB Department.

Payment must be made prior to class attendance. Mail check, payable to Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center, to attention of Linda Schmidt, OB Coordinator, Saint Elizabeth’s, 1200 Grant Blvd. W. Wabasha, MN 55981.

Financial assistance is available to those who cannot afford program fees.

Please note: Classes may be cancelled due to low attendance. You will be notified if classes are cancelled.

If you have questions about class content or schedule, please contact Linda Schmidt, OB coordinator, at 651.565.4531, or email linda.schmidt@ministryhealth.org.

Patient appreciates care at Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center

“It felt so good to be home!” exclaimed Dori Mickow, a longtime resident of Wabasha, when she returned to Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center for recovery and recuperation. Her full-circle journey began with a fall on the sidewalk in front of her home, which landed Dori in Saint Elizabeth’s Emergency Department and on to surgery in Rochester. Her return was welcomed with open arms by the nursing staff.

“She was a star patient,” said Kathy Lueders, director of nursing. “Dori always had a smile on her face. She was kindhearted and so positive. Caring for her was a real pleasure.”

According to Dori, the feeling was mutual. “We are so lucky to have such a wonderful hospital right here in Wabasha. The nurses enjoy their work and work well together. Every employee shows great concern for patients. I was always surrounded by friendly, compassionate people. It was like having family take care of (me). To be honest, it’s going to be hard to leave!”

Dori was discharged from Saint Elizabeth’s in late November. She is doing well and enjoys her freedom and independence once again. She attributes her improved health to her new friends at Saint Elizabeth’s.

Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center named in top five for patient satisfaction

Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Wabasha, Minnesota, was presented the Path to Excellence award for the second year in a row by NRC Picker (NRCP). This year’s award recognizes Saint Elizabeth’s staff for its commitment to providing quality care and service.

Saint Elizabeth’s was one of five hospitals in NRCP’s database of 449 hospitals that was selected for its top ranking in overall satisfaction by patients between March 2010 and April 2011. As a 2011 award recipient, Saint Elizabeth’s is among a select group of health care innovators leading the way on the Path to Patient-Centered Care.

“NRC Picker congratulates Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center for this outstanding and distinguished honor,” said Susan L. Henricks, president and COO of National Research Corporation. “Earning the 2012 Path to Excellence award is a sign of noble achievement and we are proud Saint Elizabeth’s is ranked among our highest achieving member organizations.”

“In partnering with NRC Picker and utilizing its measurement and quality improvement solutions, we have been able to proactively respond to the needs of our patients,” said Joni Lommen, vice president of clinical services.

“Earning this award indicates a strong and ongoing commitment to the practice of patient-centered care. We are always striving to exceed patient expectations. The feedback we receive from surveys, rounding and discharge phone calls is used to enhance our care and services. Every employee plays a vital role in ensuring our patients have a positive experience. We are proud of the commitment our staff has made to fulfill our mission, live our values, and keep our promise,” added Lommen.

NRCP is a division of National Research Corporation and conducts patient satisfaction surveys and research for Saint Elizabeth’s and many health care organizations throughout the country.

Wabasha resident Dori Mickow and Kathy Lueders, RN, display the Path to Excellence Award.

Yoga for pregnancy

A new 4-week series begins March 15, 2012

Taught by Christina Mroz, certified pre-/post-natal yoga instructor

Co-sponsored by Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center, Wabasha

Benefits of yoga during pregnancy:

  • Eases lower back issues due to weight of the baby
  • Fosters physical and mental preparation for labor/delivery
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Increases bonding with baby

When: Thursdays, 6 – 7 p.m., March 15, 22, 29 and April 5, 2012

Where: Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center, Sister Gerina Room 1200 Grant Blvd., W, Wabasha, MN

Cost: $30 includes handouts and instruction DVD (value of DVD is $20)

Each week will have a specific focus – relaxation, breathing, meditation techniques and poses to support labor and delivery.

Christina Mroz, is a Certified Pre-/Post-Natal Instructor with over 11 years of teaching experience. She is a mother of four children and practiced yoga throughout all of their pregnancies, including her pregnancy with twins. She is the Director of Holy Yoga’s Pregnancy Training Program. You can find out more about Christina at http://completemotions.com/.

To register, contact Christina at 507.923.5558 or email christina@completemotions.com

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