Thank You to the Helpers

Thank You to the Helpers – A Conversation with a Nurse

Dale Johnson:
The Conversation Starts Here every Saturday morning at this time on KF or FM 103.3 12:40 AM with Dr. Sandra Miller of Complete Hearing. Check out complete-hearing.com. Good morning, Dr. Miller.

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D:
Good morning. How are you today, Dale?

Dale Johnson:
I’m doing well. For people joining us for the first time, let’s briefly because we are in the better days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the governor is opening up and allowing us to do more things these days, but you have been taking it cautiously and rightfully so at Complete Hearing. Talk to us just a little bit before we get into our conversation today with our guest about the steps taken to preserve the health of your patients at Complete Hearing.

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D:
Absolutely. I would say one thing that we are just so grateful for that we do live in the Midwest and we have some very diligent leaders that are taking us through this process of COVID and reopening our city and our state so well. And so I just want to give a shout out just to our government for thanking them that this has been a cautious way to go. As regards to how this is affecting Complete Hearing, we are going to be opening up our lobby again, which we are excited for. We’ve had some really great additional services that we’ve come up with to really help our patients through this process, curbside service drop-off, but we miss our patients and we are seeing them, just that they have to call us when they arrive and let them in. So we are going to open up our door again, which will be wonderful.

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D:
We’re still making some good precautions though. However, we are so doing lots of sanitizing, we are still going to ask them questions in regards to screening before people come in, hand sanitizer when you come in. So we’re still going to be taking those precautions. COVID just doesn’t go away, even though it might not be in the news as much as it may have been in the past. And we just want to make sure that we are keeping our patients safe. We work with a demographic that is definitely more at risk just because they’re older. They may have some other health conditions. And so we want to take those extra precautions to make sure that people feel safe when they’re at Complete Hearing.

Dale Johnson:
Impressive new services provided to patients at Complete Hearing. And what’s equally as impressive Dr. Miller, if I could make an observation from the outside looking in is, not only do you get that type of support to your patients, but you also support businesses that support your patients. And that’s when we bring in registered nurse, Lisa Anne Ostendorf from Madonna and Health and Home Consultants. Lisa, thanks for being on our show today.

Lisa Anne Ostendorf:
Glad to be here.

Dale Johnson:
Dr. Miller explain the link between Complete Hearing and what Lisa does at Madonna.

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D:
So a couple of things that we’ve really hone in on in regards to Complete Hearing is partnering with those that really take care of our patients, whether it’s through the family member, or it could be honestly, agencies that we’ve worked with in regards to living centers or assisted living or a sauna. Anybody that is involved with our patient’s lives, we want to make sure that we’re connecting with them and supporting them. And so as you’ve gone through this very challenging time with COVID, I thought it was really important to bring somebody in who is experiencing this on the front lines and how healthcare maybe has changed a little bit for her.

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D:
We just want to give a shout out and say, “Thank you to all those.” And it’s just not nurses and doctors and those working with our patients, it’s the delivery drivers and the farmers. And it’s everybody, who’s had to take a different role during this time. But in regards to working with Madonna and working with other agencies, it’s just that we want to support them the best we can because we’re out for the common good and the good of our patients. And so I wanted to make this a top [inaudible 00:03:29], what’s it look like when this happens and maybe some of the changes and maybe some of the more positive things we’re seeing as we open up.

Dale Johnson:
Lisa, take us into your world at Madonna.

Lisa Anne Ostendorf:
Since the pandemic has started, obviously we have had to wear the proper PPE mask gloves, which most of the time we’re already doing with a lot of our population depending on what kind of cares they’re receiving. Madonna has done a really good job as far as keeping communication lines open with families and loved ones, by allowing them to do FaceTime, Zoom calls and giving those patients who may not have access to a cell phone, a phone that they can use in their room. And it could be a regular telephone, or it could be like a hands free phone that they have the ability to use just with their voice by answering it and hanging up.

Lisa Anne Ostendorf:
And I would have to say that it’s definitely been different for the last few months, not having loved ones visit because that is a big support system for the population that we do serve. And they are not only patient cheerleaders, but our cheerleaders as well because as we all know, healthcare in itself can be very challenging and has been even more so with all of the pandemic stuff. And so, it’s equally hard on both ends for not just our patients, but also for nursing staff not to have that support.

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D:
I love that comment you had because we think so much about we want to take care of our patients and we do the very best you possibly can, but when you take the dynamic of you, immediate additional load put on the healthcare workers for sure because patients weren’t allowed to be seeing their loved ones. And so did you find yourself having to take on different duties or you found like, “This is even a little more stressful for me now because I have some different things that I’m taking on I wasn’t doing before?”

Lisa Anne Ostendorf:
I would say that for myself, it’s not more stressful because I love to do the work. I love what I do and I love the population that I serve. And I absolutely love my coworkers. Shout out to all of them because a lot of us have worked together for many, many years. And so, when you have that good group of nurses and other providers, like your physical therapist, your occupational therapists and speech therapist, respiratory therapist that are there and we work together as a team, we all make it happen.

Lisa Anne Ostendorf:
And I think with all of this evolving and how it has, everybody has really stepped up to ensure that our patients feel cared for and loved even in times of greater stress and when they can’t see those loved ones and whatnot. I mean, yes, we’ve had to make extra phone calls and transfer phone calls to rooms and they talk on our phones and whatnot. We go to great lengths to make it work no matter what, so that they can speak to their loved ones at least every day, every other day. And there’s been times when we just called them to give them an update as well.

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D:
I loved that. I think that you’ve maybe found this too, is that we had to kind of recreate or reinvent some of the things that we were doing just to make it happen because we know that interacting with their loved one is so important that I think that’s part of their healing of course. And I love what you said about them being your cheerleader because I think they’re obviously going to be grateful to you for the care you provide. And I just love the fact that you mentioned that because we talk about care, we talked about in general caring for our patients is it’s not just about the relationship we have with that person, but it involves the entire family as well.

Lisa Anne Ostendorf:
Yes. I think with healthcare and the population that we serve, for both of us Dr. Miller is that, there’s a lot of things that we can’t do without family members because for instance, when you have patients that may come into your office that have hard time hearing, they aren’t able to make their needs known for whatever reason, whether it be hearing related or another comorbidity that they may be dealing with. And so they need that lifeline with them no matter what they face throughout their lifetime and it’s vitally important, especially in times like this.

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D:
Absolutely. A lot of times we ask our patients when they come in to make sure, “Please let you bring someone with you,” because we talk about just the communication aspect and that it’s not just about the patient, but it’s about the people they’re interacting with or that they’re having struggles with, or just that helping hand, having an extra set of ears and extra brain just to go through remembering things. And no, that’s not what the nurse said, or that’s not what Dr. Miller said, or your doctor said this. And so just having that support system is so important and kind of get back again to giving you a shout out just because working in healthcare, we do it for a reason and I love what you said. I love what I do. And that’s so important. And I know that the staff of Madonna and yourself, just knowing that you have that passion obviously makes us feel wonderful in terms of partnering with you, but also just the fact that we are in this for the right reason and not just provide care for our patients.

Lisa Anne Ostendorf:
A lot of people have realized what the true meaning of giving back and truly giving to those who are in greater need and not being selfish in times of a pandemic. And I’ve been at Madonna for 12 years and I never thought in my lifetime, I would ever see anything like this. And it’s a bit shocking to kind of see how all of it played out, but also how well everyone has responded and to getting things put into place so that we could care for our patients, and so that we could continue to speak with their families and loved ones even though there were many people upset about not having visitors and not allowing those to be able to be there unfortunately, because it was to keep all of our staff and our patients safe.

Dale Johnson:
Lisa, you are primarily dealing with the greatest generation. How have they accepted masks? That’s a new introduction for a lot of people that you serve.

Lisa Anne Ostendorf:
Well, I’m going to be honest. I don’t think any of us like wearing them. Even as a nurse, as a healthcare provider, I don’t think any of us really like wearing them. I work 12 hour shifts. Sometimes I’m there for 13 hours. And really the only time that we’re allowed to take off our mask is when we’re eating or getting a drink. And for some people that can be really difficult. And then when you have patients that are maybe on a ventilator or their spinal cord injury or their traumatic brain injury, each of those populations, everything is different because of how their brain works and how they respond to different things.

Lisa Anne Ostendorf:
And I’m going to be honest, there’s some patients that don’t like it. And there’s some patients that you have to pick your battles with and do what you can to keep everybody safe, but you can’t win them all. And there’s some people who refuse to do it, but you still love them. You still take care of them to the best of your ability, and educate your patients in regards to why we’re doing what we’re doing.

Dale Johnson:
And Dr. Miller at your end, it’s tough to hear a person with a mask on.

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D:
Right. It created a whole new communication challenge. And I think we see that across every industry and especially when it comes to healthcare. We definitely saw that you take away the visual aspect of being able to read somebody’s lips and that takes away 50% of what you can even hear. And then you put that mask on and it serves as a low cap filter that just says the low pitches are going to come in, they’re going to hear you, but it squashes those high frequencies for clarity. I’m going to chime in and just say, I’m in complete agreement with what we’ve seen having our patients back in the offices.

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D:
Some of our patients don’t understand, “Why do I have to have this on?” They’re annoyed by it. And we just talk about the importance of it and just having them understand that this is vital for what’s happening in our community. And we just want to keep each other safe. And I think that’s the most important methods that we can put out there that we know that we were able to put these measures in place and flatten the curve. And we’ve had some good results here in Lincoln and Lancaster County and around Nebraska. So I think it was definitely one of those things that I applaud just having those people who have to wear this mask every single day, all day long. My goodness, it’s difficult.

Dale Johnson:
Lisa, we’re grateful for you to be able to take time here. You’re one of the heroes that this world has gotten to know because of this COVID-19 pandemic. So I very much thank you for what you do and what you will continue to do once we get out of this pandemic.

Lisa Anne Ostendorf:
Thank you so much, guys. I really appreciate it. And I would have to say that we’re all heroes in every aspect of all of this because we’re all working together to try and keep everybody safe and informed of all of the changes because it’s all changing at such a fast pace. And I don’t think that some people realize how fast it changes. It changes every hour, what we’re doing and how we’re working with everybody.

Dale Johnson:
Lisa Anne Ostendorf, registered nurse at Madonna and Health and Home Consultants. Thanks Lisa. Be safe.

Lisa Anne Ostendorf:
Thanks. You too.

Dr. Sandra Miller Au.D:
Thank you Lisa.

Lisa Anne Ostendorf:
Thank you.

Dale Johnson:
And Dr. Miller, thank you very much. We’ll talk again next week on The Conversation Starts Here.

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