Caregiver extends care “half a country away”

Springfield | July 3, 2017
Devoted daughter advocates for mom with help from a co-worker

Patricia Krajeck gives patients and families the ins and outs of joint replacement surgery all of the time. Like, every day.

She is, after all the program manager for the total joint program at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center-RiverBend in Springfield, Oregon.

But in this case, the patient was 1,500 miles away and wasn’t having surgery at PeaceHealth.

Here’s the story told by Michelle Saunders, a fellow PeaceHealth caregiver in Springfield:

My mother, who lives on our family farm with my father in Minnesota, recently had a total knee replacement. When she called me to tell me she was finally getting the surgery she’d waited ten years for—in just three short weeks—I was elated. 

Then she told me she’d have to spend TWO nights in the hospital after the surgery and my joy quickly morphed into apprehension.

As a healthcare quality professional, I know things can go wrong—especially without someone by your side who knows the right questions to ask. Without delay, I booked my ticket home and then I contacted Patricia Krajeck, the total joint replacement program manager at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart-RiverBend. I knew I needed to educate myself if I was going to be a valuable advocate for my mother.

Patricia was a godsend to me. She took time out of her busy schedule to connect with me and answer all of my questions—she even answered questions I didn’t know I was going to have!

We have an incredible joint program at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart-Riverbend and I felt so lucky to have direct contact with someone as compassionate and knowledgeable as Patricia.

She went so far as to send me all of our in-house patient guides on what to expect before, during and after surgery and invited me to attend one of the educational sessions she provides for our patients. It’s incredible the amount of information you need to know before you get a new knee!

With my mother’s surgery fast approaching, Patricia knew it would be difficult to absorb what others usually have months to learn so she gave me her number and instructed me to call if I had any questions or concerns while I was away. 

I remember what a blessing of reassurance that was for me as I stared at the 70+ pages of information she had given me.

Patricia gave me the tools I needed to be an ideal patient advocate while I stayed two nights with my mother in the hospital.

Thankfully, my mother received excellent care. With what I learned from Patricia I wasn’t afraid to speak up on her behalf when I felt she wasn’t being heard. That was a huge benefit for my mom, who endured a grueling 36 hours post-surgery while her caregivers struggled to get her pain under control.

I’m happy to report that my mom is recovering like a champ just weeks post-surgery. She can bend her knee past 90 degrees and she’s been upgraded from a walker to a cane.

I really can’t thank Patricia enough for her guidance and reassurance through the toughest part of my mother’s journey. I’m proud to work alongside someone with such passion for the work she does and the patients she helps care for—even those she’s never met, half a country away.