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Taking care to where people are

Maggie Donathan waves through her window to Wendy Sullivan

Collaborative community program makes a difference

Maggie Donathan wasn’t feeling too hopeful.

She was on oxygen and in a wheelchair.

But by the end of a second visit with Wendy Sullivan, she started to feel better.

“My life changed,” she said. “I can garden now. I can bend. I can walk. I can drive. I can go shopping. I’ve come a long way.”

It was all thanks to Wendy and Mobile Integrated Healthcare that serves residents in and around Florence, Oregon.

The program is a collaboration between Western Lane Fire and Emergency Medical Services and PeaceHealth, for patients in the community who could use some help after a hospital stay or other intense medical situation.

Wendy, a paramedic with MIH, visits patients at their homes to assess what’s working and what isn’t.

In Maggie’s situation, she provided some strategies to help deal with feelings of helplessness. It’s what made all the difference.

Maggie sees MIH as a “kind of back-up” care. “It meant a lot to me that I knew that Wendy was coming and that she would be advising me on what to do and how to continue to get better.”   

Wendy emphasizes that MIH isn’t a replacement for primary care or hospital care, but rather, it’s a way for those parts of the healthcare system to work together effectively. “It’s a way for a patient to come home from the hospital and get the support they need to get back to their regular life,” she said.

William Foster, MD the medical director of the ED in Florence, said the program is making a difference in patients’ lives. In his view, MIH draws a direct line to the mission of PeaceHealth, which is to carry on the healing ministry of Jesus Christ.

“Jesus didn’t have an office where people came…he went out to where they were. That’s an excellent example of what the Mobile Integrated Healthcare program is doing,” he noted.