Eastern Minnesota

Breathing easier with pulmonary rehab
Cultivate a life of abundance with Saint Elizabeth’s From Here to Harvest program
Emergency care that you can count on is at Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center

Breathing easier with pulmonary rehab

Everyone has certain routines – habits so embedded in our everyday schedules that they rarely have to be written on our calendars.

For Elmer Myers of Nelson, Wisconsin, exercise at Saint Elizabeth’s Wellness Center in Wabasha, Minnesota, every Tuesday and Thursday morning is a ritual he won’t soon give up. It’s the medicine his lungs need to keep his chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) at bay.

For 60 minutes or so, Elmer toggles between a treadmill, elliptical and bike. Sometimes he’ll add a bit of strength training. It’s all part of his personalized pulmonary rehab program designed to help him build strength and endurance to ward off complications from a disease that has been brewing since childhood.

Elmer was diagnosed with allergies and asthma as a young boy. Add to this, years of tobacco use and exposure to environmental irritants while working at ammunition and furniture factories, and his lungs became a fertile environment for chronic respiratory problems to take root.

In his younger days, Elmer could more easily combat COPD’s side effects. Now in his 80’s, Elmer relies on his weekly exercise routine and the guidance of Saint Elizabeth’s cardiopulmonary team to build and maintain strong lung capacity.

"I like coming to the Wellness Center," smiles Elmer. "I feel better when I do. My breathing is better; I sleep better; and I have more energy to do the things I want to do. The staff is so good to me, and I like visiting with other patients while I am exercising."

His referral into Saint Elizabeth’s Pulmonary Rehabilitation program by his pulmonologist introduced Elmer to the benefits of regular exercise and helpful information about his disease. Pulmonary rehabilitation educational sessions focused on proper breathing techniques, medications and using inhalers and nebulizers, signs and symptoms of relapse, nutrition, and other disease management issues.

"We begin by meeting patients where they are at," explained Tanya Jumbeck, RN. "Each care plan is tailored to meet the specific needs of our patients. No two plans are alike. During our first session, we gather medical history, chart current vital signs and other information to determine a starting point from which to build upon. We have coined the phrase ‘slow and low’ to describe the kind of progress we like to see. Instead of leaps, we take baby steps. We want patients to feel comfortable and at ease with their treatment plan.

"I always start off our sessions with the question, 'How are you feeling today?" said Jumbeck. "I ask my patients to respond using a percentage. In the early stages of their program, the responses are usually low. But in time, we see great improvement. Just last week, Elmer replied with a spirited 100 percent! That is fun to see!"

In Elmer’s case, his limited lung capacity required slow but steady conditioning. The first phase of pulmonary rehabilitation involved brief bouts of exercise along with education and ongoing monitoring of vital signs and oxygen levels. During the initial program, which can vary in length from three to 12 weeks, Elmer saw continual progression toward his treatment goals. Every session was a building block with minutes of exercise increasing at a realistic rate.

"We’ve come a long way," said Jumbeck. "Elmer’s exercise duration has improved by 30 minutes. Another measurement of success is a walk test. When he first started, he walked 800 feet, but needed a break due to shortness of breath and fatigue. Before transitioning to the maintenance program, he was walking 1200 feet without a break."

"I keep coming back because I know it’s making a difference," said Elmer. "I had a relapse last spring and ended up in the hospital with pneumonia. I am doing everything I can to prevent this from happening again."

One of the biggest challenges for patients to overcome is fear.

Patients are worried about exercise and how it will impact their breathing. Most have experienced significant shortness of breath and other complications that have caused extended illnesses or even hospitalization. Many believe that exertion of any kind will cause more harm than good.

"We try to debunk this myth by offering encouragement and building confidence," said Jumbeck. "Patients feel more secure knowing that we are monitoring them and can quickly respond to any concerns they may have. The socialization and support they receive from our staff and other patients is also an important ingredient to their ongoing success."

Elmer continues in the maintenance program. His regular attendance is improving his lung capacity and his outlook on life. He is doing more because he can! He enjoys weekly games of dart ball, and recently attended his granddaughter’s wedding and joined fellow veterans on an Honor Flight to the Washington D.C. Memorial.

"It was a long day of travel and walking, but I was strong enough to manage most of the time without a wheelchair. That was my hope," said Elmer. "I couldn’t have done it without the help of Saint Elizabeth’s."

Saint Elizabeth’s Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation offers help for managing many chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke and respiratory conditions. In addition, the Wellness Center provides exercise, education and support for individuals with other conditions including high blood pressure, osteoporosis, diabetes, pre-diabetes, metabolic syndrome, high cholesterol , overweight, and arthritis.

To learn more about Saint Elizabeth’s prevention and chronic disease management programs, talk to your provider or call 651.565.5519. Saint Elizabeth’s can assist patients in maintaining a physician’s referral for services.


Cultivate a life of abundance with Saint Elizabeth’s From Here to Harvest program

When you are feeling overwhelmed, out of control, stressed, blue, over committed, unhappy, tired, weary and frazzled, or when you feel out of sorts and out of balance, it might be time for a change.

Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center invites you to develop a renewed sense of peace, well being and mindfulness by participating in a three-part, body-mind-spirit workshop. Facilitator Julie Woodruff will help participants dig out weeds of stress, negativity and fatigue; help them sow seeds of joyfulness, positivity and gratitude; and ultimately encourage them to enjoy a fruitful harvest of abundance and hope.

The "From Here to Harvest" program takes place at Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Wabasha, Minnesota. During the From Here to Harvest program, participants attend three sessions that provide lessons, learning, interactive group activities and thoughtful discussion of selected session themes.

Woodruff’s engaging personality, extensive knowledge base, and passion for living fully and mindfully is captivating and inspiring as she guides participants through the session topics, which include: You are here — Now what? You are out of your mind — Sow what? You are thriving — No matter what!

Each session is designed to teach and lead participants through a process of self-fulfillment by: evaluating present circumstances accepting certain truths making choices that produce positive, life-giving outcomes.

The program also offers tools and tips for reducing stress, strengthening relationships, responding to unexpected circumstances, living in the moment, experiencing more joy, and reaching your dreams. The practical guidance and support can be applied in the home and work settings.

Julie Woodruff, MSN, CTTS has a broad scope of expertise. As a Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist at Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center, Julie provides individual and group tobacco cessation services. She previously held other positions, including psychiatric clinical nurse specialist, group therapist, nursing instructor, community organizer and Archdiocesan Delegate to Kenya.

For more information about From Here to Harvest or to find out about an upcoming program, call 651.565.5596 or email semcinfo@ministryhealth.org.


Emergency care that you can count on is at Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center

For a severely injured person, the time between sustaining an injury and receiving definitive care is the most important predictor of survival – the "golden hour."

The chance of survival diminishes with time; however, a trauma system enhances the chance of survival regardless of proximity to an urban trauma hospital.

The Minnesota Department of Health recently designated Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center as a Level IV Trauma Hospital.

Saint Elizabeth’s staff voluntarily participated in the intense designation process to become part of Minnesota’s statewide trauma system. The process included an outside review of the hospital’s resources and capabilities to care for trauma patients.

Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center and staff met standards of commitment, clinical and equipment resources and staff training. The hospital also participates in a continuous performance improvement process.

"Our medical team of physicians, nurses, and technologists is dedicated to providing the highest quality emergency care," said Theresa Hager, RN, coordinator of emergency services. "This designation validates our strong commitment to advancing our skills, technologies, and services to respond to the emergency needs of our patients.

"This year, every nurse and provider who provides emergency care at Saint Elizabeth’s received Comprehensive Advanced Life Support (CALS) training. This educational program is designed to provide training for rural emergency medical professionals. CALS teaches an effective team approach to the care of critically ill/injured patients, including trauma, cardiac, strokes, pediatric, obstetrics, neonatal, airway compromise, and sepsis."

"Trauma is the third leading cause of death in Minnesota," said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Edward Ehlinger. "The goal of the trauma system is to decrease injured patients’ time to care by making sure their medical needs are appropriately matched with hospital resources. With the designation of Saint Elizabeth’s as a level IV trauma hospital, we are getting closer to our goal of ensuring that seriously injured Minnesotans have access to an organized system of trauma care wherever they are in the state."

On average, trauma claims the lives of 2,400 Minnesotans annually. States with trauma systems have seen survival rates increase by 15-20 percent. Wide-scale participation in the voluntary trauma system ensures that a statewide, cooperative effort is in place to care for seriously injured patients.

Minnesota began developing a comprehensive statewide trauma system in August of 2005. Through its designation, Saint Elizabeth’s recognizes the vital role that communities, ambulance services, hospitals and health care professionals play in the care and management of trauma patients.

"We are grateful for this recognition and will continue to work collaboratively with our partners to respond quickly and effectively to the emergency needs of our communities," Hager added.

Pictured are members of Saint Elizabeth’s Emergency Department team, from left: Linda Schmidt, RN; Kim Schmitz, RN; Theresa Hager, RN; Jamie Mau, RN; Dr. Ruth Tiffault, director of Medicine/Emergency Department Care Team; Holly Brakke, RN; and Patty Elworthy, RN.



Saint Elizabeth’s Retail Pharmacy is now open

Our pharmacy team offers a wide selection of prescription and over-the-counter medications. Most insurance plans are accepted.

Monday – Friday: 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Saturday: 8:30 a.m. – 11 a.m.
Sunday: Closed

Located on the first floor of Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center Call 651.565.5611 for more information.


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